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From disappointment to dream

Released from Canada’s National Junior Team one year ago, Jordan Dumais used the experience to dominate the QMJHL and wear the Maple Leaf in Sweden

Nicholas Pescod
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December 31, 2023
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Jordan Dumais remembers how he felt when learned he wouldn’t be suiting up for Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

“It was hard. I was very disappointed,” recalls Dumais. 

A star forward with the Halifax Mooseheads, Dumais, then 18, was among the 28 players invited to the National Junior Team selection camp in Moncton, with the opportunity to play in front of familiar fans in Halifax.

Coming into camp, Dumais was the leading scorer in the Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with 54 points in 25 games, and second only to Connor Bedard for most points in the entire Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

“I knew I was a younger guy. I knew my odds of making it were tough, but I thought I played pretty well at the camp,” says Dumais, who had a goal and an assist in one of the camp games against a team of U SPORTS all-stars.

Still, it wasn’t enough and Dumais was among five forwards sent home at the camp’s conclusion. 

“I went to the camp and did what I had to do, and it didn’t go my way,” says Dumais.

Fast-forward a year and things have very much gone the Montreal native’s way. He was once again invited to selection camp and instead of being sent home, he finds himself wearing the Maple Leaf in Sweden as a member of Canada’s National Junior Team.

“I came in this year with a bit of experience and played my game and it went my way this year,” says Dumais. “As a kid, it’s your dream. Honestly, just wearing the Canada logo every game is unbelievable.” 

Fueling a fire 

Dumais was tearing it up in the QMJHL well before he was released from Team Canada, but he took it to a whole new level when he returned to the Mooseheads after camp, and ended up having a historic season.

He put up points in his first eight games back, and was held off the scoresheet only six times in 40 games. His run included seven points (4-3—7) against Moncton on Feb. 19, and had six (2-4—6) on March 22 against Charlottetown.

In just 40 games after coming back from camp, Dumais recorded 86 points — he had 31 in the month of March alone — and finished the season with 140 points (54-86—140), breaking the Mooseheads’ single-season scoring record of 137. 

He took home a couple of big postseason honours, winning the Jean Beliveau Trophy as QMJHL leading scorer and the Michel Brière Trophy as QMJHL MVP. He was also named to the first all-star team in both the QMJHL and CHL.

Mooseheads and Team Canada teammate Jake Furlong says there was a change in Dumais after he came back from camp. 

“Especially after Christmas, I think he just had a little more motivation and little more grind. He wanted to prove people wrong, but also the people that believe in him right,” says Furlong, who has been teammates with Dumais in Halifax for four seasons. “He stayed the same off the ice and didn’t really change his demeanor, but on the ice, he really worked his butt off, and I think that showed in the second half.” 

Furlong also believes the fact the World Juniors took place in Halifax only added more fuel to the fire. 

“I think that probably played a factor into it. I mean, being from there and being with the Mooseheads and seeing the fans we get every night, World Juniors was a whole different level, and I am sure he wanted to make Mooseheads fans proud,” he says. 

Dumais admits not making Team Canada only motivated him to take his game to another level.

“Obviously, I wasn’t happy about not making it last year, but I did use it as motivation to get back this year.” 

Silencing critics

At just 5-foot-9, Dumais, a third-round pick (96th overall) of the Columbus Blue Jackets at the 2022 NHL Draft, has had to deal with those who have questioned his size and whether he could even play at a high level throughout his entire hockey career.

“I think I have been [doubted] my whole life. So, at this point, I do play my game and have always had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. I don’t think too much about it, but it is always there.” 

During the offseason, Dumais spent a considerable amount of time working on improving various areas of his game, whether it was becoming a better skater or spending time in the gym.

“I am always trying to work on my game where I can. I am aware of my flaws. I am smaller than the other guys, but I don’t really think too much about it. During the summer, I am always working on those things and trying to improve and get better.” 

Mooseheads head coach Jim Midgley says it was clear from the beginning of the year that Dumais wanted to make Canada’s National Junior Team, adding that the 19-year-old is an extremely competitive and driven individual who wants to win and be the best all the time. 

“Every drill we do in practice, he wants to be the best. He wants to win, he wants to be the fastest, he wants to be the best. He has a high battle level, but that is what I think makes Jordan special. He’s not the biggest guy, but for a smaller guy he has a lot of fight in him.”

That hard work and burning desire to be the best has paid off for Dumais, who came to selection camp with 47 points (16-31—47) in just 21 games with the Mooseheads. He sits five points behind QMJHL scoring leader Mathieu Cataford, despite having played 13 games less than Cataford and having not played for the Mooseheads since Dec. 8.

For the next week, the focus remains on Team Canada and the World Juniors, alongside Mooseheads teammates Furlong and Mathis Rousseau. It’s something Dumais says he’ll treasure for the rest of his life.

“It’s a great group of guys here. We have really good atmosphere in the room, you know, at the hotel, wherever we are, so that's been a lot of fun,” he says. “It’s a dream come true.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

emadziya@hockeycanada.ca 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

ssharkey@hockeycanada.ca

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

jknight@hockeycanada.ca

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