P.K. Subban changed teams before last season after playing his entire career with the Montreal Canadiens, and was a key component to the Nashville Predators run to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Preds are rolling along this year as well. They currently sit fourth in the standings with a 21-9-5 record. Subban has picked up where he left of this season, scoring seven goals and dishing 18 assists. The 25 total points ranks third on the team.
But this isn’t about Subban’s contributions on the ice. The guy has always been about his community, and that didn’t change when he switched uniforms. We’re talking about a guy who once pledged $10 million to the Montreal Children’s Hospital while he was with the Canadiens.
On Friday, he shared the below video of himself dressed up as a 75-year-old man and spreading holiday cheer.
Here’s what he said in the YouTube description:
“It’s holiday surprise year four, and I – or shall I say ‘Eddie’ – is back for much more! I had the best time strolling around Nashville, spreading cheer and surprising one of my Blueline Buddies families with a special holiday home makeover! And of course, I sent something special over to my friends at the Montréal Children’s Hospital. A big thank you to Roman Josi, Antonio Park, the Nashville Predators and all of the other friends who helped make this year happen!! Enjoy folks, and happy holidays!!”
The best part of the video came when Subban surprised a family that is part of his Blue Line Buddies program that started in October of this year.
According to the Tennesseean, the program was devised by Subban to get police and inner city kids together to share fun nights. It is an effort to improve relations between the inner city community and police, which have been strained in recent years.
“Subban is buying tickets to every home game for a different officer and kid, and their guests. They’re eating a deluxe buffet at the Patron Platinum Club in Bridgestone Arena and then watching the game from really good seats. They’re seeing Subban before and after the game and getting autographs from other players. But mostly this is about them.”
People should see this program as more than a public-relations bump for Subban and the Predators. Conversations happen face to face and good ones can emerge from discomfort.
“I’m all for athletes and people in general exercising their rights,” Subban said of the protests. “I’m making an effort to build a bridge. Trying to create positive energy between police officers that leave their houses every day, leave their families every day and don’t know if they’re going to come back, and our underprivileged youth.
“I know that growing up I had a lot of friends in my community that didn’t like law enforcement. And a lot of that has to do with what they’ve seen. I think this hopefully helps law enforcement feel they’re appreciated. It’s a delicate topic, but I think everything with this program is positive.”
P.K.’s program is well-received by the Metro Nashville Police Department- and not just because Morgan jumped in because the Hendersonville grad likes Preds hockey.
“A lot of kids that age, even when they’re not in trouble, they’re nervous (around police),” she said. “Unfortunately in society that’s what a lot of people are taught, that we’re the bad guy.”
Subban wants kids in middle and high schools who have a grasp on current events. The Predators work with various groups in the city to select them, and AJ was chosen because he is part of the YWCA’s MEND program. Former Vandy basketball star Shan Foster is the director of that program, which seeks to end violence against women.
“We engage men and boys to change the culture that supports domestic violence, so violence has no legs to stand on,” said Foster, who called Subban’s idea “incredible.”
“It’s an opportunity to change the conversation,” Foster said. “This takes the politics out of it, takes away the negative perceptions society has right now. This is about the human side of all of us.”
The family in Subban’s Holiday Surprise received a full living room makeover, a decorated Christmas tree, presents, kitchen appliances and a four-course meal. The young boy in the family shared what they have been going through.
“Sometimes my family, they go through things, as they go through it, I can see the fear in their face or the sadness in their face,” the young boy says. “I really don’t want them to know I know about it. Then that might make them sadder.”
He didn’t forget about his friends at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, either. The end of the video shows kids opening a giant present that contained several presents for each of the kids. The smiles on their faces are priceless.
The Preds defensemen is certainly a role model for any aspiring athlete, and his efforts to help children and their families specifically will go a long way in improving the communities he is helping. Nashville is lucky to have him.
The Holiday Surprise wasn’t the only thing Subban did to help his Nashville community. Per SB Nation:
“On Saturday, Subban posted a holiday video showing him surprising a group of kids with sickle cell disease in Nashville. The kids thought they were in for a day of doctors’ visits. Instead, the group got to spend the day with Subban, who took them on a sleigh ride around Nashville and then, along with teammate Roman Josi, treated them to a massive shopping spree at the Nashville Predators team store.”
The NHL and athletes everywhere would do well to take notes from Subban. He obviously isn’t the only professional athlete making a difference, but it’s so encouraging to see all that he is willing to give back to the communities that have given him so much. It truly seems like he understands his responsibility as a role model. Well done, P.K. Subban. Well done.