NHL player P.K. Subban uses hockey to unite Nashville cops with city's youth


Our continuing series, A More Perfect Union, aims to show that what unites us as Americans is far greater than what divides us. In this installment, we look at a unique relationship between police officers and underserved communities. Kids in Nashville and the people who keep them safe share a common bond – hockey – and it's helping them get to know each other.

The Blueline Buddies program was created by NHL star P.K. Subban to help build bridges in Nashville, and it's connected more than 66 cops and kids so far this season.

Officer Justin Chisholm is used to the dangers of riding through some of Nashville's most crime-filled neighborhoods. Chisholm has seen so much bad during his 18 years on the force, he hopes he can deliver some good.

"There's so much division in this country right now. And the way to help that is to get people connected," Chisholm told CBS News' Michelle Miller.

One thing that does bring people together is sports. Enter star defenseman, flamboyant dresser and the face of the Nashville Predators hockey team, P.K. Subban.

Subban is one of just 11 black players in the NHL.

"As pro athletes, when you're in a position of being a role model…you have to kind of figure out what the need is and how you can kind of help," Subban said.

Off the ice, the Canadian-born athlete has been helping kids for most of his career, pledging $10 million to the local children's hospital in Montreal where he played for seven seasons. Now living in Nashville, Subban wanted to bring that generosity to his new home.

"I wanted to, you know, make a difference in kind of a different way and try to be creative," Subban said.

From that creativity the Blueline Buddies program was born. The way it works? For every Nashville home game this season, Subban brings a local cop and a child together.

Officer Justin Chisholm and Nakeis Carey CBS News

Chisholm's Blueline Buddy is Nakeis Carey, a Nashville native who loves sports and recently became a hockey fan.

"I just hope he gets a chance to meet a police officer and see that we're people, too," Chisholm said.

Nakeis was excited to meet Chisholm. He says that as a little kid, the first job he thought of was police officer. Adding to the excitement for Nakeis was the fact that he'd never been to a hockey game before.

The two connected right before the game and the man who brought them together chatted with them before he laced up. Then it was game time. The Predators won in a blowout.

Subban hopes that more teams around the league will pick up the Blueline Buddy program. Nakeis and officer Chisholm are planning to meet again in the coming weeks, when Nakeis plans to go for a ride-along.