— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) September 6, 2020
The award is presented to the player “who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community.”
“This is a very special day for me and my family. I’m just so honoured,” Dumba said of receiving the award Sunday. “This award really isn’t about you. It’s about the people around you, all the support and love that I’ve got for them. When the passing of George Floyd happened, months ago, I took to my social media and knew that I could do more. I didn’t know what that exactly meant at the time, but I knew I could step up and be an even bigger leader in my community, in the city that has shown me so much love and support throughout my career.
“This is the least I can do, giving back to them and trying to make a difference, and [be] a voice of change and strength in our community. … This is just the start. We’re going to do some awesome things.”
Dumba has emerged as a key leader in the effort to make the sport more inclusive — in response to the continuing social unrest across North America and calls for racial justice, Dumba co-founded the Hockey Diversity Alliance, which aims to eradicate systemic racism and intolerance in hockey.
The 26-year-old delivered a powerful message on the subject during the 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers in Edmonton, before becoming the first NHL player to kneel during the singing of the national anthem.
Dumba also spearheaded the Rebuild Minnesota initiative to assist Minneapolis businesses impacted by the protests in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The fundraiser aims to raise $500,000, with all funds to be donated to the Lake Street Council in Minnesota and ActionDignity in Canada.
The young blueliner’s recent efforts to help his community also included providing COVID-19 support to more than 60 families who are part of Athletes Committed to Educating Students, a Hockey Fights Cancer tribute for a close family friend, and a donation to Australia’s wildfire relief efforts.