Defending the Blue Line is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization created by soldiers with the spirit of keeping hockey alive for the children of our nation’s military heroes.
Defending The Blue Line is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation for military families. Created in 2009 by a group of Minnesota soldiers, Defending The Blue Line (DTBL) provides free hockey equipment, grants to help with local association fees, some of the best summer hockey camps available, and unique experiences such as attending an NHL game. Military service can be challenging, and with the tempo of deployments since 9/11, many families have been without that “hockey mom or dad” multiple times, usually for a year or more. Defending The Blue Line wants to make sure that during these challenging times, military kids keep playing hockey. Having the kids occupied and around friends on the ice is a great way to take their minds off of the stress that accompanies a deployment.
So far, DTBL has been able to outfit 100 kids with brand new head to toe hockey equipment, courtesy of a grant from the NHLPA Goals & Dreams Foundation. The equipment is “hand-receipted” out to the families until it is outgrown. It is then collected back, sanitized, and issued out again. The gear is top notch, from major manufacturers such as CCM, RBK, and Bauer. The kids get absolutely everything they need to get on the ice, right down to their first couple rolls of tape for the season!
In addition to the gear, DTBL was able to issue a few grants to help with registration costs as well. While there was more demand than there was available revenue this year, Defending The Blue Line is working hard to secure new corporate partners to help fund future requests. Grants are limited to $500 per child - that amount can take care of a good chunk of local association costs for most families. A significant amount of the applications received this year were from Reserve Component members (National Guard, Reserve, Etc.). DTBL is set on being able to fund 100% of the eligible grant requests next year as a “thank you” to the troops for their service.
Defending The Blue Line also sent over 200 military kids to hockey camp for free in the summer of 2010. These camps covered all ages, and ranged from day camps in the Twin Cities metro area, to a great week long live-in camp in WI. The live-in camp was the highlight camp of the summer! 50 military kids enjoyed hitting the ice twice a day, dry-land practices, and a fun event every evening.
Several NHL players have also teamed up with DTBL to donate tickets to their games. Brent & Susan Burns have sent over 500 service members to a MN Wild game for free. “Burnzie” has been a tremendous ambassador for Defending The Blue Line, he frequently takes time to visit with local military members and has been a huge part of the organization’s success.
Defending The Blue Line is excited about all the support and generosity that the hockey community has shown toward our military families and keeping their kids’ skates laced up. DTBL would like to thank some of their key supporters, such as the Minnesota Wild, the NHLPA, the MN NHL Alumni, MN Hockey, and everyone else involved that has brought such success, so fast, to this new group.
For more information on Defending The Blue Line, please visit their website at: www.DefendingTheBlueLine.com