In the Edmonton bubble Friday, Matt Dumba got a special delivery of more than the painted skates he and his brother Kyle are auctioning off to rebuild small businesses in Minneapolis. He also got a piece of fan art inspired by his taking a knee in support of the anti-racist movement.
Allie Cook, a 27-year-old Minnesota Wild fan from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, had recently taken up digital drawing after doing other crafts with a hockey theme, like painting rocks and carving Halloween pumpkins. But when she saw the image of Dumba taking knee in support of Black Lives Matter, flanked by Chicago Blackhawks goalie Malcolm Subban and Edmonton Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse, all over social media, she felt compelled to turn it into digital art.
“I thought, ‘I think I have to draw it,’ Cook told NHL.com “It’s massive. It’s so important that he did that. I was just so blown away by the volume of that action that I had to draw it.”
Cook started working on the piece when she got home from work that day and was so excited about how well it was turning out, despite her inexperience with digital drawing, that she posted the partially finished work in a reply to a Minnesota Wild tweet.
Kyle’s girlfriend Taylor saw the tweet and brought it to his attention. Kyle then messaged Cook to ask if she could finish it by Tuesday because he wanted a friend to develop and frame it so he could give it to Matt in the bubble.
“I just thought it was so cool what she had done and I wanted to give a copy to Matt in the bubble to have with him, just as a reminder of what you’re doing this for and how big of a moment it was and the change that you’re making,” Kyle said. “It was just about, ‘This is something amazing that you did and very powerful and there’s a lot of people behind you and supporting you.'”
Cook was shocked at the request, especially since she had just drawn it for fun. She had already been a fan of Matt because of his fun personality and one of her first digital drawings was also of him. But she was thrilled at the idea of him having her work and hustled to get it done in time for Kyle’s drive to Edmonton.
And seeing her favorite player step up to help the community during this time, even more than he already has throughout his seven seasons with the Wild, strengthened her appreciation for him.
“For someone who’s not from here but considers this community so important that he wants to rebuild it, it’s amazing,” Cook said. “I feel almost honored that I got to draw that moment but as a community, as Minneapolis, as hockey fans, we’re so lucky to have him.”