Not only did Zach Parise make an immediate impact with his new team last season, he also made major contributions to Minnesota-based organization Defending the Blue Line (DTBL). DTBL’s mission is, “Ensuring that children of military members are affored every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey.”
DTBL was started by Shane Hudella, who woke up with the idea while serving his country with the Minnesota Army National Guard on active duty. He founded the organization in 2009 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit designed to help military families with the high costs of hockey an helps ensure that children of military members are given every opportunity to participate in the sport. The organization provides free hockey equipment, access to summer hockey camps at no charge and provides monetary help to cover local association fees for military families.
Parise’s partnership with the charity has increased partnerships off the ice as, this past season, DTBL partnered with Gander Mountain for the “Puck for a Buck” campaign. Puck for a Buck sold hockey pucks at retail and online Gander Mountain outfits. In addition to Parise, fellow Minnesota Wild players Cal Clutterbuck and Clayton Stoner, and former Wild forward Matt Kassian, also helped raise funds.
The Wild has been an annual partner with DTBL by wearing camouflage jerseys in pre-game warm-ups before auctioning them off. The latest such game was on April 23rd before a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Kings.
“Things like the camo jersey auction will go toward paying association fees that might be out of reach for some of these families,” said Hudella. “The goal is to take one of the stresses for military families by getting their kids onto the ice.
“For a lot of these families, hockey is out of reach. We help bridge the cost barriers.”
Parise’s contributions didn’t stop there, however, as he also donated $10,000 to the organization prior to the game. He jokingly hinted that he might possibly try to bid on Wild captain Mikko Koivu’s camo jersey.
“You want to be able to give them the ability to buy equipment for someone or hockey fees for someone,” Parise said. “Every little bit helps them.”
For the full story from Wild.com, click here.