Matt dumba honors derek boogaard with continued support for defending the blue line
When the Minnesota Wild announced over the summer that defenseman Matt Dumba would be switching from number 55 to number 24, it tugged at the heartstrings of the fan base.
Ask any Wild fan what the number 24 means, and you’re going to hear a lot about Derek Boogaard. Boogaard was a player every fan knew and every fan loved. Despite the fact that he wasn’t a flashy goal scorer, or even a top 6 player, Wild fans would sport Boogaard jerseys more than almost any other player while he played in Minnesota. Even today, it’s not uncommon to see a number 24 Boogaard jersey on the backs of Minnesota fans.
As much as Wild fans loved him, Boogaard was equally adored and admired by his teammates as well.
Boogaard’s poise and character is still a strong memory in the Wild’s locker room today, even in the younger generation of players that have come after him. Dumba was seven years old when Boogaard was drafted by the Wild in 2001 and was drafted the year after Boogaard’s tragic death. Despite this, Dumba is well aware of the reputation Boogaard had on and off the ice.
While other players have worn his number with the Wild, Dumba took the responsibility of wearing Boogaard’s number very seriously. “Wearing 24 was something I wanted to do this year and I wanted to do a tribute to that. Him being a fan favorite here in Minnesota when he was with us was awesome.”
That responsibility including becoming a major supporter of Defending the Blue Line. While playing in Minnesota, Boogaard started a program called “Boogaard’s Boogaardian’s” shortly after Defending the Blue Line was formed. The program focused on sending military children to hockey camp, and after his death Boogaard’s family carried on the program in his honor.
This season Dumba started “Dumba’s Hit’s For Hero’s”, where he donates $100 dollars to Defending the Blue Line for every hit he makes at the Xcel Energy Center.
Dumba was certainly influenced by the Gentle Giant, and the work he did with military families. “He did a lot of work with Defending the Blue Line, his charismatic personality was so vibrant and touched a lot of people here. I thought it would be a nice way of showing my respect.”
Dumba also says that it’s important to support our troops. “It definitely touches me, seeing what these guys do on a day to day basis and what they put their family through, and the sacrifices they make for us.”
“They risk so much. We risk injury in sports, and we all have family, but these guys are putting their lives on the line for us. I just thought anything I could do for theses guys and their families, make it a little easier would be awesome.”
At the end of the day, Dumba sums up his work for Defending the Blue line by saying “It’s just something I really wanted to do. Learning more about them, being around them, going up to Camp Ripley, things that, really hit home for me.”