Dumba and Shinkaruk show solid effort in first selection camp game

Mathew Dumba and Hunter Shinkaruk are two of the hopeful players trying out for a spot to compete in the 2013 IIHF U20 World Championship. Team Canada’s selection camp started Dec. 11, and ends on Dec. 13 at WinSport’s Markin Macphail Centre in northwest Calgary.

Shinkaruk, 18, is a forward for the Medicine Hat Tigers, and is participating in his first World Junior selection camp as a draft-eligible player.

Meanwhile, Dumba, 18, is a defenseman for the Red Deer Rebels and is in his second camp with Team Canada, and is looking for a better result this time around.

“The sting of getting cut, I really don’t want that this year, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to not have that feeling again,” Dumba said.

Dumba started this year’s under-20 camp off on the right foot with a solid showing in the team’s first inter-squad game. He played on the red team Tuesday night.

Mathew Dumba played on the red team in the first game of the camp.

Photo by Lucas Silva

Head coach, Steve Spott, commented on his performance: “Dumba tonight was safe, steady, and strong. As we move forward here in this event, I think he’s probably going to handle the puck a little bit more, and create a little bit more. Mathew Dumba’s a physical player, and hopefully he can show that tomorrow night.”

Shinkaruk played on the white team for the inter-squad game, and also got off to a good start by showing off his goal-scoring ability by scoring white’s only goal on the evening, putting a rebound past goaltender Laurent Brossoit.

Despite his good performance on Dec. 11, draft-eligible players typically have a difficult time cracking the World Junior squad. A draft-eligible Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was cut from the selection camp in 2010, and went on to be picked with the first pick in the 2011 National Hockey League entry draft.

Sidney Crosby has been the only draft-eligible player on a Canadian World Junior team in the two previous lockout years, but Shinkaruk is confident he can make a good case for his spot on the roster.

“I think if I play my game, like I do in Medicine Hat, that’s going to give me the best chance to make this team,” Shinkaruk said. “If I create offensive opportunities, score a couple goals, and set up guys, that’s why I’m going to be on this team. I think I’ve just got to play my game, and do the things I’m best at.”

Spott commented on the likelihood of draft-eligible players making the team.

Hunter Shinkaruk scores white’s lone goal putting home a rebound in the slot.

Photo by Lucas Silva

“The players we have that are draft eligible deserve to be here and ultimately they’re going to be evaluated like any 19-year-old players,” Spott said.

Competing in their hometowns

Shinkaruk has 19 goals, and 24 assists for 43 points in 29 games this season and it’s clear he’s enjoying being able to tryout for a spot in his hometown.

“It’s pretty cool, it’s something I’ve dreamed about just to get this tryout; to have it in my hometown is something that’s unbelievable,” Shinkaruk said. “My friends are going to be in the stands, and my family so it’s going to be pretty cool.”

Dumba supported that notion: “It’s awesome. Whenever you get to put on the jersey for Team Canada it’s an amazing experience. To do that in my home town, it’s even better.”

Dumba was cut last year, but having his family in town is a big boost this time around.

“They’re all out here to support me, and that’s awesome,” Dumba said. “It’s good to have them, without that support I don’t think I’d be here now, so I’m always happy to have them here.”

Dumba has seven goals and 10 assists for 17 points this season, coming off a season last year that saw him score 20 goals, with 37 assists for a point total of 57. He poses as an offensive threat while being one of the most physical players every time he hits the ice.

Hunter Shinkaruk fires a shot on net in Tuesday morning’s practice.

Photo by Lucas Silva

The road to get here

Dumba grew up playing minor hockey for the Crowchild association, then moved on to the Northwest Broncos for Bantam AAA, and finishing up his minor league hockey career by attending the Edge School for hockey.

From there, he was drafted No. 4 overall in the 2009 WHL bantam draft by the Red Deer Rebels, and has been a key piece of that franchise ever since. He earned the WHL rookie of the year in 2010, and captained Team Canada to a bronze medal in the 2012 IIHF World U-18 Championship. He scored five goals and added seven assists for 12 points is seven games.

Shinkaruk played his minor league hockey for Glenlake before moving on to the Calgary Royals for his bantam and midget years.

Shinkaruk was then drafted by the Medicine Hat Tigers with the No. 14 overall selection in the 2009 WHL bantam draft. He has since been a key piece in the Tiger’s lineup, totaling 176 points in 158 games over the past three seasons including a 49 goal season in 2011-12.

lsilva@cjournal.ca