Devan Dubnyk’s current situation is a strong reminder of what should be a constant priority in the life of a professional athlete.
Dubnyk — the starting goaltender for the Minnesota Wild — hasn’t been with the team for over a week as his wife, Jennifer, battles what has only been described as “some serious medical issues,” according to Michael Russo of The Athletic.
Upon returning to practice on Thursday, Dubnyk discussed what has transpired since he left the club to be with his family following the Wild’s 4-1 victory in Buffalo over the Sabres on Nov. 19.
“I don’t know how much I want to say details-wise. … I don’t want to get too much into it for her privacy,” Dubnyk told reporters after his time on the ice, per Jessi Pierce of The Athletic. “It’s still pretty foggy as far as what’s going to happen going forward. She’s OK. We are working on getting her back to 100 percent. There are going to be some things to figure out going forward here.
“It’s just something that I need to be here [in Minnesota] for, and I need to be with her and the kids.”
Devan and Jennifer have been together for more than a decade — long before Devan was anywhere close to making it to the NHL, according to Pierce. Sometime between Devan finishing up his junior career with the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers and competing for a spot on the Edmonton Oilers, the two were wed in Maui.
Per Pierce, their three boys are between the ages of five and one.
Dubnyk explained that Jennifer experienced a medical episode shortly after he returned from Buffalo and he rushed her to the hospital that night. Since then, doctors have been trying to figure out precisely what she is dealing with.
“That’s the most difficult part for all of us,” Dubnyk said, according to Pierce. “It’s not fun when you don’t have a concrete answer...”
Jennifer’s mother and sister have since flown into town to help her, Devan and the children in any way they can.
Dubnyk’s family has also received plenty of support from within the Wild organization.
“[Hockey is] what you do for a living, and it’s a job, but anytime something like this comes up, you realize nothing matters but your family in the long run,” Dubnyk said, per Pierce. “The way the organization from [owner] Craig [Leipold] to [GM] Billy [Guerin] to [head coach] Bruce [Boudreau] has just given support and time and, you know, offered anything possible to help, they obviously are very aware that family is the No. 1 thing that matters.”
Dubnyk alluded to likely not travelling with the team on its upcoming three-game road trip set to begin on Monday.
He last played on Nov. 16, a 4-3 overtime loss at home to the Carolina Hurricanes.
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