Accolades have come early and often for Mathew Dumba, an energetic defenseman in his second full season with the Red Deer Rebels.
When he arrived in Kelowna for the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, it was familiar turf of sorts. In early November, the high-flying Rebels walked into Prospera Place and knocked off the Rockets. At the time Red Deer was among the top teams in the entire CHL. Since then, the Rebels have fallen on some difficult times.
For Dumba, the reigning WHL Rookie of the Year, the trials and tribulations have not stopped him from maintaining his high profile and standing among the best draft-eligible defensemen in the country. Ranked seventh among North American Skaters by Central Scouting, he is considered the third best in the WHL behind Ryan Murray of the Everett Silvertips and Morgan Rielly of the Moose Jaw Warriors. Both Murray and Rielly have missed significant playing time this season due to injuries. In fact, Rielly is not expected to play again this season.
Dumba is thankful that he has remained healthy this season, allowing him the opportunities to participate in the Subway Series with Team WHL, consideration by Hockey Canada at the selection camp for Team Canada, and again here in Kelowna at the Top Prospects Game.
Dumba was selected in the first round, fourth overall, by the Rebels at the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft. A product of the successful Calgary Edge Mountaineers program, Dumba is an aggressive open-ice hitter. At 6’ and 173 pounds, he is still likely to grow, but for now his physical play can be game-changing. Through 47 WHL games this season, he has scored 16 goals and 21 assists for 37 points.
HF spoke with Dumba on opening night at the Top Prospects Game.