During the pre-game interview with Zach Parise before Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, Parise mentioned that he is involved with an organization called Defending the Blue Line (DTBL). The interview showed Parise hanging out with military men and their families while shooting some stuff. This peaked my interest so I decided to look into DTBL further.
The mission of DTBL is
ensuring that children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey. We accomplish this by providing free equipment for military kids, hockey camps, special events, and financial assistance for registration fees and other costs associated with hockey.
DTBL was created in 2009 by a group of Minnesota soldiers (the hockey state!). It appears that Parise’s allegiance to the organization probably has something to do with the fact that his father is on the Board of Directors. Other players who support DTBL include: Cal Clutterbuck, George Parros, Matt Henricks, Ryan Kesler and Sean Avery. NHL teams listed as partners include: the Anaheim Ducks, Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals. You may also be interested to know that the Derek Boogaard Memorial is a MVP Level sponsor/donor.
Sport is like war without the killing (hopefully), this notion is nothing new. We see it when the fighter jets fly over before the start of the Indy 500. We see it when athletes wear camouflage jerseys. We hear it when commentators talk about athletes being warriors in the trenches. As Mark Norman has outlined in a previous post it is important to dissect the significance of the link between sport and militarism, and for our purposes, hockey and militarism. Dr. Samantha King, a professor of Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, has written about the synergy between sport and war with the specific example of the National Football League in a post-9/11 world. King (2008) writes:
as professional leagues such as the NFL incorporate Bush administration policy into their business strategy with the aim on enhancing brand identification and capital accumulation, it appears that a system is emerging in which sport culture has moved beyond its customary role as an ideological support to the corporate state. Therefore, although relationships between sport and the state are not new, there is an intensified depth and mutuality to the sport-war nexus in the present moment – a shift that might be understood as a further indication of the miltarization of everyday life, and, simultaneously, of the “sportification” of political life – in the contemporary United States. (p.528) Read more of this post