Bauer Dumanski is looking to put Lockwood, Saskatchewan on the hockey map.
The Cougars drafted Dumanski in the second round, 26th overall, in the 2020 WHL Bantam Draft in April. The defenceman hails from the small farming community 45-minutes south of Humboldt. How small?
“It’s a town of about 15 people. We raise cattle and are grain farmers but mostly everyone there are grain farmers. There’s a potash plant nearby too,” said Dumanski over the phone from his family’s farm.
The skilled defenceman admits he had to look up where Prince George was after the Cougars took him with their fourth pick of the draft but says he couldn’t be happier to be picked where he was. Thinking back to draft day, Dumanski commented, “My family and I were watching on our TV. We were all really excited when the Cougars took me. It was a big day for us. I’m excited to learn more about the organization and community. I can’t wait to get started.”
Cougars’ Director of Scouting, Bob Simmonds says the young blue liner has a high ceiling, “Dumanski is a well-rounded defenceman already for his age. He’s a strong skater, who can drive offence from the back end. His puck moving skills are what you need in today’s game.”
Dumanski played for the Humboldt Broncos in the Saskatchewan Bantam AA Hockey League this past season, and despite being a defenceman, led his team in scoring with 33 points (16G-17A) in 33 games. He was his team’s captain and said he thrived being counted on to lead his team.
“I try to take control of the game and make everyone play at my pace. I see the ice well. I know when to move the puck or when to hang onto it. I would say I am a good skater and I can get shots through from the blue line.”
He isn’t one dimensional, as he referenced Washington Capitals defenceman, John Carlson as someone he looks up to, “He’s great offensively but he can shut it down on defence too. I try to play the same way.”
Dumanski’s Head Coach in Bantam, Tyler Durant, described him as “an athlete who possesses a great work ethic.”
His work ethic surely comes from his farming background, as he still helps his dad out regularly with the day-to-day work, as he noted “there’s always something to do.” His athleticism isn’t limited to just the ice as he prides himself on being a multi-sport athlete.
Dumanski has been spending his summers playing baseball with the Muenster Red Sox Minor Baseball Association. Muenster is about an hour north of the family farm. Dumanski says he plays a bit of first base, second base and is a pitcher too. He feels it’s important not just focus on hockey.
“I’ve always played baseball growing up and if hockey didn’t work out, baseball definitely would be something I would pursue. The hand-eye coordination in baseball definitely helps my game on the ice. You’re using different muscles in the two sports, so it helps you become a better all-around athlete.”
Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has put his return to the diamond this spring on hold, he can always look back at his memorable summer in 2019. Last July, Dumanski and the Red Sox won the Saskatchewan 15U AA provincial championship on their home field. They took the championship home in dramatic fashion, beating the Unity Cardinals 16-15 on a walk-off single.
His baseball season is shelved for the time being but Dumanski plans on using his extra time to work on getting bigger and stronger, as he is set to join the Saskatoon Contacts next fall in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
“It’s going to be a step up from Bantam to Midget AAA next season. We’re going to be a young team but a really skilled team. Should be a lot of fun.”
He’s already a step closer to reaching the WHL. Dumanski signed his WHL Standard Player Agreement earlier this month said everyone was excited, well almost everyone.
“My family and I were really happy, except my grandma,” chuckled Dumanski. “She thought Prince George was too far.”
Well, hopefully his Grandma has a change of heart. In the meantime, she has a year to watch her grandson play before he heads out west to start his WHL career.