New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban knows that one night at the rink isn't going to change the feelings throughout an entire country. One gesture of kindness won't end the division, and one handshake won't slice through the tension. With that in mind, Subban has taken the Blueline Buddies program he founded in Nashville and initiated in New Jersey.
Subban will host a group of four guests to every Devils' home game- two police officers from the precincts throughout Newark, and two youth from the Newark community. He will treat them to dinner provided on behalf of Prudential Center's concessionaire partner, Legends, enjoy the game in great seats, and meet P.K. pre- and post-game. The program will kickoff today with the Devils game against the Arizona Coyotes.
Later this season, the Devils Grassroots department will host a charity hockey game with law enforcement, where proceeds will go back to the program. Thanks to our great partnership with Adidas, all attendees of the program will receive a custom one-of-a-kind Blueline Buddies t-shirt.
Through his tenure with the Nashville Predators, Subban started the Blueline Buddies program. During every Nashville Predators home game during the season, Subban hosted his program, bringing together a member of the Metro Nashville Police Department and their guest with a mentor or representative from a local organization and an underprivileged youth. The program came to P.K. after watching the news and wanting to do something, anything to try and make a difference.
"I think it's important for athletes to set a tone in a way that we're looking to build bridges," Subban said. "That doesn't take away from anybody's right to do what they want to do or how they want to exercise their rights as an American citizen, but I think it's really important for us to be role models in terms of building bridges and being a part of the solution to social issues and different things that go on in our community."
Subban, who has a best friend who is a police officer, believes youth and law enforcement building a rapport with one another is vital, and that's exactly what he's aiming to accomplish with the program.
"Our law enforcement, these are people that leave their houses and may not come back home at the end of the night," Subban said. "That's the job that they have, so to make them feel good, and to also be able to help underprivileged youth that don't get an opportunity like everyone else, that come from broken homes, it's a win-win."