NHL on NBCSN: Dumba raising awareness for Australia wildfire relief

Matt Dumba / Instagram
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NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Tuesday’s matchup between the Minnesota Wild and Pittsburgh Penguins. Coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

Matt Dumba had an early start to his off-season last April, something he’d never experienced in the NHL. After the Minnesota Wild failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2012, the defenseman wanted to use the time off for a unique vacation.

Dumba ended up choosing Australia and spent two and a half weeks traveling up and down the country’s East Coast with his best friend.

Aside from the relaxation that vacations offer, the trip served another purpose for Dumba. It allowed him to mentally unwind after missing the final four months of the season after suffering a torn pectoral muscle following a December fight.

“It was amazing over there,” Dumba told reporters last week. “I don’t think I realized how much the injury weighed on me. I went back home and just wasn’t myself. I was able to get away to Australia with my best friend and we just took it all in.”

So when Dumba saw the images coming out of the country following wildfires that have destroyed thousands of homes and killed 24 people and countless animals, he felt the need to help. Last Tuesday, the defenseman was at home watching the Minnesota Timberwolves game and posted to his Instagram that he would donate $100 for every point they scored that night to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service to help fight the fires and help victims. He also urged followers to donate and spread awareness about the issue on their own social channels. 

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As you all have seen across the news and Instagram, Australia is currently in a state of emergency with devastating fires sweeping across the lands, affecting habitats, communities, killing millions of animals and taking human lives. It’s hard to understand the dramatic impact this is having sitting safely on the other side of the world, but not to long ago I was on that side of the world. After the season last year I was able to travel to Australia with my one my best friends. We travelled the entire east coast top to bottom over 2 1/2 weeks. After a long hard season dealing with injury I was able to escape and take my mind off all the what if’s. I fell in love with this beautiful country. It breaks my heart seeing the tragedy they are facing. So I want to do my part and personally donate funds to help fight these fires and hopefully motivate you to do whatever you can to help. With Minnesota being my home and the TWolves being my team I’ll be most definitely watching them tonight against the Grizzlies, I’ve decided to donate $100 for every point the T Wolves score directly to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Please help me by donating whatever you can to help with this cause and put an end to these fires. Whether that’s $5, $100 or even just sharing this post if you are not in a position to donate right now, every small action helps when we come together. Click the link in my bio to donate directly to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service to help fight the fires and care for the victims of this tragic event.

A post shared by Matt Dumba (@matt.dumba) on

The T-Wolves put up 112 points that night and Dumba donated $11,200 to the cause. He’s also put the donation link to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service in his Instagram bio.

As Dumba goes through the photos of his trip now, he can’t help but notice that many of the same areas he enjoyed in April are now destroyed.

“I’ve seen on social media some of the exact pictures I had taken, with those landscapes ablaze,” he said. “That was hard for me to even picture. When I was there, it was gorgeous. To see it all up in flames, it’s crazy. It’s just so sad.”

Tuesday night’s studio coverage will be hosted by Kathryn Tappen alongside Keith Jones and Anson Carter. John Forslund and AJ Mleczko will call the action from Pittsburgh.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.