When they aren't working out of a satellite office, Jonas Brodin and Matt Dumba report for duty at Xcel Energy Center.

They're on the same team, two long-tenured employees who have the same job, which they perform right next to each other.

To just call the Wild defensemen colleagues doesn't cut it.

"We know each other way more than being co-workers," Dumba said.

Studies show a majority of Americans work with someone they consider a friend. But Brodin and Dumba's bond goes way beyond end-of-the-day happy hours.

They take trips together, share the same hobbies and live a few floors apart in a Minneapolis apartment building. They even finish each other's sentences.

Their kinship translates to the ice, where the two will open the season Friday at Anaheim as the Wild's only returning duo on defense.

"They genuinely enjoy playing together, and they work well together," said their boss, General Manager Bill Guerin. "They trust each other."

Developing a bond

The Holiday Inn in St. Paul is the birthplace of this friendship; Brodin and Dumba were roommates there during the Wild's prospect development camp in 2012.

Dumba's first impression of Brodin? Quiet.

"I thought he just went about his business," Dumba said, "and he was so good on the ice."

Both are first-round picks, with Brodin, now 28, drafted 10th overall in 2011 by the Wild and Dumba, 27, selected seventh a year later. But they joined the Wild from opposite sides of the world.

"It's crazy when you think about it," Dumba said. "Stockholm and Calgary, two of the same people born a year apart and thousands of miles apart from each other."

While Brodin was climbing the ranks in Sweden, Dumba was playing in Canada, but he had picked up some Swedish from a former teammate and heard Brodin playing the Swedish DJ Avicii in their hotel room.

"We had fun right away," Brodin said. "It just felt like right way this could be a good friend."

They had the same taste in music, but Brodin struggled to communicate in English. Dumba helped him.

"I could understand everything," Brodin said, "but I was really bad at speaking it."

Eventually, Dumba started calling Brodin "Jimmy," a nickname that he still goes by today.

"It just stuck," Dumba said. "I don't know why 'Jimmy.' I just kept calling you, 'Jimmy,' and then all [teammates] started calling you, 'Jimmy.' "

"Maybe I was slim, too, my first year," Brodin said. "I didn't have a lot of muscles."

"Yeah, you were pretty slim," Dumba said.

Making memories

In 2013, Brodin went full-time with the Wild and a year later, Dumba turned pro, splitting games between the NHL and minors before sticking with the Wild in 2015.

After starting out with other partners, they began to play together around 2016. By then, they were already buddies who went head-to-head in video games.

"You have some beers with a guy," Dumba said, "and you get to know each other."

They invited their friends to games, packing everyone into the same suite, and then their friends became friends.

"You could see amongst our friend groups that it was the same people as doppelgängers," Dumba said.

They went to Mexico and Scottsdale together and a few years ago, Dumba visited Brodin in Sweden for Brodin's birthday in July.

In-season, they go out for dinner while on road trips after making a pact five years ago to "not ever hermit crab it and stay at the hotel," Dumba said. When they are in Minnesota, they like to catch a movie, golf and play pingpong and pool.

Even their families have hung out, like two Christmases ago when everyone went to an outdoor rink and had coffee with Baileys and donuts in the parking lot.

"I know his old man pretty good now; he knows mine," Dumba said. "When they're in town, one of us will come out to dinner. Jimmy has come out to dinner with just my parents or vice versa."

Between them is a connection that transcends the sport.

"Our relationship is not just hockey," Dumba said. "We talk about personal stuff and family and problems going on with that because we still are going through the same thing."

Side by side

Their careers with the Wild remain that common denominator. Only captain Jared Spurgeon, circa 2010, has played for the Wild longer than Brodin and Dumba.

"We stuck with this organization, and this organization stuck with us, believed in us," Dumba said.

They've weathered trade rumors in outlasting former franchise cornerstones such as Mikko Koivu, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The pair also emerged unscathed from the summer purge on the blue line that subtracted Suter, Ian Cole, Carson Soucy and Brad Hunt.

"They have that chemistry," said assistant coach Bob Woods, who oversees the Wild's defense. "They hang out off the ice, so they know each other really well. They care about each other, and you watch them around the rink they're always talking. They're always talking about situations on the bench, and there's just that friendship that I think is important to have."

Not only are they natural complements — Brodin shoots left and Dumba's a righty — but their styles mesh.

"We're both versatile," Dumba said. "I got a little more —"

"Offensive side," Brodin interjected.

"Yeah, offensive side," Dumba said, "and Jimmy is defensive even though he definitely gets up there lots, which I like seeing him up there."

On the same page

Last season, Brodin set a career high in goals with nine while leading the Wild in average ice time per game for the first time, at 22 minutes, 26 seconds, just nine seconds more than Dumba, who is known for his shot on the power play and in overtime, where he has the most goals in franchise history with six.

Add Dumba's 2021 output (six goals) to Brodin's and the combined 29 assists between the two of them, and they provided an effective boost to the offense.

"They're both very skilled with the puck and make those little plays to get it to the forwards," Spurgeon said.

But they also lived up to their namesake as defensemen.

Among the pairings that played the most minutes together last season, Brodin and Dumba were near the top of the NHL in fewest scoring chances against at 5-on-5 and high-danger chances.

Because they have played together so much, they know what to anticipate. And since they care, they support each other; they want to put the other in a position to succeed instead of leaving him in a jam. Never have they gotten mad at each other on the ice.

"That's why we get out of pressure really good together," Dumba said. "It's like you're always trying to go to the best spot that I would think you would want me to be and vice versa."

Still, they communicate all the time. And they praise each other's subtle moves that don't make it to the box score or highlight reel, and help the other out when one is having an off-night on the ice.

"The other guy steps up," Brodin said.

Same for the Wild when poor shifts are snowballing.

"Jimmy," Dumba will say, "let's calm this down. Let's slow it down."

They are ready for the responsibility that comes for a veteran pair as well.

"We want to play against the top lines," Dumba said. "Against tough matchups, we get more fired up from each other. Jimmy's telling me who he's going to be all over that night, and I pick the other guy's wingman, whoever else is on that line, and we just focus in on shutting them down that night. It's fun."

Friends forever

Brodin and Dumba never chose to be roommates at development camp all those years ago; they were assigned to stay together, a decision that saddled them with a sidekick for life.

"We grew up together," Dumba said.

Now, they are collaborators, confidantes and each other's cheerleader.

When Brodin signed a seven-year, $42 million contract extension in September 2020, Dumba tried to travel to Sweden to celebrate with Brodin.

"I couldn't get into Sweden because of coronavirus," Dumba said, "but I was going to go. I actually looked for a flight."

And when Dumba was named an alternate captain last month, getting passed over for the title didn't bother Brodin.

"I'm so happy," Brodin said. "It's deserved, well deserved, especially how he is on the ice and off the ice, too. Just a good human."

Hockey and the Wild introduced them. But when those things go away, Brodin and Dumba will still be friends.

"Maybe on the farewell tour in 10 years [I'll] go play in Sweden with Jimmy," Dumba said. "Uncle Jimmy, then. Uncle Jimmy. Uncle Dumbs."

Until that legacy is finalized, there's more to accomplish.


"[A] Cup to go on top of that, maybe 1,000 games together," Dumba said. "That'd be sick."