Welcome to our testimonial page!
Read the testimonials below and then share your story about how Defending The Blue Line has helped you or someone you know.
Post your testimonial:
Thank You DTBL!
Dana H. in Afghanistan
My daughter, Nora received the hockey gear just yesterday. I wanted send a note of thanks and wanted to share the photo sent to me in Afghanistan. I want to thank you for the incredible support and we're looking to see her on the ice. From what I'm told, she is very excited! Thank you! Dana H.
Wes S. on DTBL Facebook
"A big thanks to DEFENDING THE BLUE LINE for keeping Cleland Ice rink open. We had a great afternoon skating as a family." - Wes S.
We got it. Thank you very much for all that you at DTBL do.
SMSgt Patrick Burke On DTBL Facebook
My son, daughter and I were fortunate enough to be treated to a Boston Bruins hockey game while sitting the in luxury box of Patrice Bergeron. After the exciting game, we got the special treat of meeting “The 2012 Frank J. Selke Trophy” winner Patrice Bergeron!!! Needless to say, we owe a huge thanks to DTBL!!!! As I prepare to leave next week for my 3rd deployment, this special night will long be remembered by my family and I. Thank you.
Erik Kirsch, Noah, Abby and Ian
"Thanks again for this past Friday's Wild game and for what you each are doing. We appreciate that you were willing to work on this for Sean and especially for Noah. We are grateful. Noah has stage 4 cancer, and his favorite uncle and "best buddy" is serving in Afghanistan. Both love hockey."
Our Defending the Blue Line story is one about family, about hockey and how we became a hockey family. We are a military family first of all, myself a veteran of both the Marine Corps and Army (now working as a DoD civilian) and my wife, also dual service as a Navy veteran currently serving in the Air Force Reserve (and deployed to Afghanistan since January). My wife and I both grew up hockey fans and playing on ponds and in the streets of New Jersey but never competitively as it was just too expensive and inconvenient for our working class families. When we met, two Jersey kids in North Carolina, our love of hockey was one of the first things that instantly drew us together in spite of, or maybe because of our teams' rivalry (she's a Rangers fan, I'm a Devils fan). Fast-forward 10+ years through a courtship, wedding, births, Stanley Cups!, deployments, PCS moves, honorable discharges, reenlistments and all the other comings-and-goings of military life and we have found ourselves reasonably settled back in our home state of NJ. It wasn't long before my wife and I would leave the kids with her mom to sneak off on a date night and watch my Devs take on her Blue Shirts... and it was like we were finally home.
We never pushed hockey on the kids and they seemed to not be very interested at all if we were watching a game on TV. That is, until it was Spongebob playing hockey on TV (Yeah... Spongebob). The next day while driving home from daycare my then 5 year old son shocked me when from the back seat I heard, "Daddy, I want to play hockey". Sadly, the first thing that I thought of was money. Instead I replied, "Well, you need to learn how to skate first." I was still dithering about the cost a few days later when an old Army buddy of mine called to see if we wanted to join his family at the rink for a public skate. I thought for sure it must be a sign. Things went well enough that first day on the ice that we signed my son up for skating lessons, and with a pair of too-big second hand hockey skates (girls skates with all the girly stuff removed) and his bike helmet he took to the ice like a duck to water. This was great as we had been trying to find him an activity to keep him busy and his mind off Mommy's frequent flight missions (his sister had softball and gymnastics) but pretty soon the skating lessons wouldn't be enough for him. The next few weeks saw me combing the internet to try to scrape together some gear so he'd be ready for Mites Cross-Ice... eBay, Craig's List and all the usual retailers were on my radar. My wife and I strategized the best way to approach it... should we ask family to get him gear for his birthday instead of toys? Roll the dice and see what might turn up in the spring yard sales?
Somehow, by accident (or perhaps divine intervention) I stumbled upon Defending the Blue Line and it was like a humongous weight was lifted off our shoulders. Not only could we get the gear my son needed... but GREAT gear! He got skates that fit... BOYS skates! And just as important as the loaner gear was the knowledge that somebody cared enough about military families and was passionate enough about hockey to make all this happen. After that Spring Cross Ice season when my daughter saw that her little brother was better than her at something she decided to give up gymnastics in exchange for hockey. I'm proud to say that instead of worrying about expenses the first thing I said to her was "OK, let's fill out a gear request with DTBL". Now when we see the Defending the Blue Line TV spot on NHL Network we all cheer. The kids are always quick to point out when Zach Parise is sporting his DTBL ball cap during interviews and like Zach we've become huge supporters of DTBL wherever we go. If DTBL is willing to stand up and be an advocate for my kids the least I can do is be an advocate for DTBL. And their dedication to military families doesn't stop at kids! Just days before her current deployment my wife was asked to drop the puck at a DTBL sponsored event providing a top notch send-off and a once in a lifetime memory. They've made a hockey family out of us and helped us face the challenges of being a young military family while they were at it. They're growing the game we love one military family at a time! I can't wait for the day when some little kid DTBL helped put on the ice is skating for the NHL... maybe it will be mine!
Years ago when our 10 year old first asked us if he could play hockey (he was 4 at the time) we lived in San Antonio, TX (15 minutes to an ice rink). We told him he had to learn how to skate first- oh my goodness, never saw such determination before. He did it and learned quickly and started taking to learning to play hockey programs there in TX. We made one promise to him: being a military family and moving every two years and my husband constantly doing deployments or deployment training, that we would keep one thing consistent for him- let him play ice hockey wherever we went as long as he wanted. Now as new naïve parents we didn't realize we wouldn't be as close to ice rinks as we were when we made that promise and shortly after he turned 5 (when he was finally old enough and ready to be on youth hockey teams) we moved.
Unlike most moms who find out they are moving and immediately look up schools and neighborhoods I looked up the nearest ice rink to where my husband just got his orders to at that time (Rolla Mo) and found out our fun hockey adventure was just about to turn crazy as the nearest rink was 1 hour 45 minutes away (St. Louis). But a promise was a promise and we did it for 2 years. I had to stop homeschooling kids and get job to make it a bit less painful and more possible.
The time came again just over a year ago when my husband got orders again to move and oh boy, I couldn't be more excited thinking we would get to go somewhere closer to a rink. Whoops what was I thinking- silly me- we got Tucson AZ, yikes 2 hours away and now two boys who love hockey more than anything in the world.
So we got to Tucson and it was when I lost my job here and the hockey dream was about to end when I found out about Defending The Blue Line and boy, my boys are SO thankful. They wouldn't be able to do it - since being two different ages (one being mite- getting ready to go to squirt, while our squirt kid just got bumped up to peewee- they are never in same league to be on same team hence double practices, which are never on same day or at same rink as each other.)
So getting to be a part of this program has REALLY made it possible to hold up our crazy promise:) At the end of each season the kids ask - are we going to get to do it next season- and we tell them each time - we will try our best and see. - Arizona Hockey Mom
Misty C. on DTBL Facebook
We received our equipment for our toddler this week and wanted to make a shout out to DTBL. THANK YOU, DEFENDING THE BLUE LINE!!!
We thank you so much for this opportunity of making ice hockey a possibility for our boys. Living over 2 hours from a ice rink (each way) it makes it financially more challenging along with a very deep time commitment. If it wasn't for your grants it would be nearly impossible for us to make the dream of playing ice hockey for our boys a reality. Thank you so much for all you do.
I was seriously wounded by gunfire in Afghanistan and since then I have been going through multiple surgeries and rehab. Hockey has become even more important than it had been prior to that deployment as it is the activity which really binds us as a family. We would like to thank you again for the generous grant we received from your organization last year for both our boys.
My son attended the DTBL Warrior Camp last year and really enjoyed it so much that he wants to attend again this year. Thank you to all who put the camp together, much appreciated.
Our son currently is skating out and playing goalie. We have handed down skating equiptment and borrowed goalie equipment that has to be returned this year. He is a very energetic boy that has been faced with some huge challenges. Hockey has helped in so many ways. His advanced gross motor skills help His amazing abilities in the net. Any equipment is greatly appreciated. Thanks for helping military kids play this amazing game.
Jill S. on DTBL Facebook
Spent some time in Hastings this AM at DEFENDING THE BLUE LINE. What an awesome organization. If you have old hockey equipment to donate this is the place. They place about 25 kids a week into hockey gear and ship out all over the US and Europe. I hope our community of hockey players will continue to support this organization!
Fort Wayne, IN
I saw a TV commercial for Defending the Blue Line and I had to look it up. I now have two children that have received equipment from DTBL and another child and myself play as well. When my daughter received her gear she was so excited! Being 9 years old she couldn't wait to get on the ice. She wrote a thank you letter that we returned with the receipt. Shane Hudella personally hand wrote her a response! She still has the letter! I pass the word about DTBL to everyone that I can! Keep up the great work; it is greatly appreciated by those of us that have served.
A Letter From Alex: This Is A Must-Read Letter Received By DTBL
Hi my name is Alex I heard about your program through melony nelson of beyond the yellow ribbon and I am writing because I need some new hockey skates. Im a pewee and im on the B2 team. I really like it but I need some new skates because of 2 reasons the first is because the bottoms of my skate where my foot goes in comes out and slides around and I get welts on my foot and that hurts. The last reason is that I can’t get my foot in them because there to old and I used them so much. I have one last question, is there any chance that my brother and I could go to a camp in st cloud MN that you would sponsor? Oh one more thing I need to buy an new set of shin pads because mine got cracked in practice.
James Jelenowski, Glendora, CA
I want to say thank you to Defending the Blue line for a great family time and a true treat for a return home from my deployment. My brother and I were both deployed at the same time and thanks to you guys we were able to be together again enjoying our family's greatest pastime. We both have played and love hockey since we were born thanks to our father. You were able to get us together after our time away and let us enjoy a great game. I am so thankful for your orginization and to George Parros for what you all do. Thank You.
Gunnery Sargent Kelly, Camp Pendleton, CA
Being from the North East, and die hard hockey fans, we greatly appriciated the opportunity to attend the Ducks home opener in style. Thanks to Tom and Steve for making it happen. Also, a special thank you to George Parros sor stopping by to meet us after the game. I am looking forward to getting the kids some hockey gear and getting them out on the ice. Thank you again.
SFC John A Shannon, Michigan
great to see this program available, my daughter and i hope to be considered for equipment thanks for youer support
Greg, CFB Borden, Ontario, Canada
R.I.P DB- U WERE LOVED IN NY ON AND OFF THE ICE.
Greg, CFB Borden, Ontario, Canada
Thank you for helping those who need the help. Having a Hockey player at any level can be expensive, even worse when soldiers are deployed and families are forced to stay on a single income. I can't think of a charity closer to my heart than this one.
Bill Johnson, Minnetonka, MN
My daughter, Lauren, really enjoyed the summer camp. We met Darby Hendrickson's father and Lauren skated with his brother, Dan. We're heading to a Wild game in the latter part of February thanks to Burnzie's Battalion - sponsored by Brett Burns. We're really looking forward to that. We thank Shane Hudella, Brett Burns, the Hendrickson family, and all the other supporters of DTBL!
Becky, PC MN
What a great concept. My grandson had the opportunity to particpate in a camp this past summer and the program helped with new hockey equipment. What a tremendous help. Thanks for your time and effort.
Justin, Owatonna, MN
I am a deployed soldier overseas and am preparing to come home soon for R&R. DTBL was able to get me tickets to see a MN Wild game while I'm home. I have been dreaming of hockey all deployment and at one of the bases we even had a floor hockey rink built. I am VERY thankful and excited to get to see a game while on leave. Thanks DTBL for all that you do! You are doing great things for soldiers and our families. It doesn't go unnoticed.
Mike Lubovich, Forest Lake, MN
My son Asher, who is 4, couldn't stand on skates in his new DTBL hockey-gear in October. Now it's December and he's skating from end to end and even scores the occasional goal. My thanks goes out to the sponsors and managers of DTBL. Your contributions and dedication have allowed parents like me to focus on the most important aspect of youth hockey: Having fun.