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Above the Glass

Thank you, Minnesota Wild

Minnesota Wild prospect Mathew Dumba has been returned to the WHL, where he will join the Portland Winterhawks for the remainder of the season as the result of a trade with the Red Deer Rebels. The general consensus among industry experts is that this is the best place for him right now. Portland seconds that; with the loss of major talent this season that included Taylor Peters, Seth Jones, Captain Troy Rutkowski, Tyler Wotherspoon and goalie Mac Carruth, reinforcements are most welcome in the Rose City. We look forward to returning the favor by ensuring that Dumba’s stint in Portland will be time well spent.

He’ll join a Band of Brothers. Ask any Winterhawk what makes this team so special and they’ll all tell you the same thing: they are a close, tightly knit group who would lay down their lives for each other. Loyalty is the Winterhawks’ signature move. It’s how they thrived in the face of devastating WHL sanctions, it’s how they win championships year after year, and it’s one of the main reasons players love it here so much. Fans are a lot like the players; the Winterhawks are family to us, which is why we are known throughout the league for this:

We might get loud. Breaking the sound barrier is our signature move and when it comes to the Winterhawks, we are always #allin. For his own safety, I might suggest that Mathew Dumba pack a few pairs of earplugs in his luggage for use during home games. He’ll thank me later. 

You can take it with you. I know the Wild picked up a few new Portland-based followers when former Winterhawk Nino Niederreiter was traded to the team after several wasted years with the Islanders, including yours truly. When Mathew Dumba returns to Minnesota, he’ll bring with him a second wave of Portland-based fans; because once you’ve played here, we’re fans for life.

He’ll graduate with honors. The Winterhawks school of player development is a complete package for young players that includes on-ice development, first class strength and conditioning and regular engagement with fans and the community. Off the ice, becoming fast friends is standard operating procedure for the Winterhawks. Provided of course you’re willing to get on the bandwagon and watch "The Bachelor," which is pretty much required viewing for all players. Back to topic; Dumba is already a cut above the average junior player, but great players are always working to get better. Portland is known and respected for being a first class organization where everybody from the scrappy walk-on player to the first round draft pick can take their game to the next level and make new friends for life. 

Follow the leader. I first took serious notice of Mathew Dumba when he beat Sven Bartschi for WHL Rookie of the Year in 2011, but I must admit I didn’t pay too much attention again until he was acquired by the Winterhawks. Much of the conversation is focused on what he’ll contribute individually, but what’s also worth watching is how his experience, talent and leadership will motivate the rest of the team to elevate their game. I’m now in my fourth season of covering this team, and there’s one thing I know for sure: all of the Winterhawks are so naturally hardwired for competition that when one of them ups the ante, the rest follow.

We cultivate championship habits. Dumba isn’t the only headliner out here this week. With the trade deadline approaching tomorrow morning, the Winterhawks have made some interesting moves that include trading Adam Tambellini’s rights to the Calgary Hitmen for a conditional Bantam Draft pick in 2015 and a first round pick in the 2014 Bantam Draft (previously lost to last season’s sanctions) and acquiring veteran goaltender Corbin Boes from the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Boes was originally drafted by the Winterhawks in the 10th round of the 2008 Bantam Draft. The story of the stretch run and playoffs is still unwritten, but based on this week alone, I’m penciling in a championship or two for the Winterhawks.

Thank you, Minnesota Wild. I commend you for the choice to return Dumba to The Dub; it will serve the player, the Winterhawks and the Wild well in the long run. He will be accorded the same respect, love and loyalty that fans show to all of the players and the city of Portland will take the greatest of care with your top prospect. If Wild fans want to keep track of his progress, I’ll post regular updates on “In the Dub” or you can check out http://www.winterhawks.com or www.oregonlive.com/hawks for more complete coverage of the team.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com