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Honoring Derek Boogaard, Rangers Partner With Defending the Blueline

The New York Rangers continue to show what makes them such a first-class organization by honoring the memory of Derek Boogaard with a new scholarship.  Boogaard, a feared and respected NHL enforcer, died from an accidental but lethal mixture of alcohol and oxycodone in May.  Though he terrified his opponents on the ice, off of the ice he was said to be quiet and kind.  Many knew him to be the classic “gentle giant” and he was an active supporter of many charities.

The one charity that Boogaard held most dear was Defending the Blueline.  DTBL was founded by a soldier in an effort to help keep the children of other deployed soldiers involved in youth hockey.  Hockey moms and dads know what a commitment it is to support a child who plays ice hockey.  Between rides to practices, games, tournaments, and clinics, it seems as though you are always going to hockey.  Then there is the equipment.  The cost of replacing worn or outgrown gear is pretty significant as well.  These aren’t the sort of things a parent feels comfortable imposing on another person to do for their child even though they are off defending our country.  In most cases, children with two parents in the military simply cannot play ice hockey.  Defending the Blueline is doing something about that.  Through their dedication and the generosity of others, they are able to keep the children from military homes equipped and on the ice while their parents are fighting for all of us.

The New York Rangers have partnered with DTBL to continue Boogaard’s mission.  Each year, two children involved with DTBL will be selected to participate in the Rangers Youth Hockey Camp.  I recently enrolled my own son in a Rangers clinic, and the experience was incredible.  I know that these deserving young players will have a great time, and learn more about the game from the top notch Development Team.  Many NHL players, including our own Derek Stepan and Sean Avery, have become involved with DTBL as a result of knowing Derek Boogaard.

Upon his passing, the family of Derek Boogaard requested that anyone wishing to send flowers or help the family make donations to DTBL instead.  That is how I came to learn about the nonprofit organization that I have come to respect so much.  This August, I will be taking part in another amazing charity event called, Checking For Charity.  Teams entered in the tournament compete for a percentage of prize money to be donated to the charity of their choice.  My team is made up of fellow hockey dads, and we have all agreed that we would be proud to play for Defending The Blueline.  As coaches and dads of youth hockey players, we could not imagine how difficult it must be for those courageous warriors to tell their children that they will not be able to continue to play the sport that they love.  It is one of many unfair and little known sacrifices that military families make for their nation, and we are honored to do our part to help.

I will continue to provide updates on these charities and our progress in the upcoming tournament.  In the meantime, check out DTBL and Checking For Charity and see if there is something that you can do to help out.  If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at dantepv9@gmail.com.

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