The community was the real winner at this weekend’s Prince Rupert Rampage game. The Rampage beat the visiting Kitimat Ice Demons, by a final score of 7-2, but the only goal that really mattered was the fourth for the home team.
It was on that fourth goal with just 18 seconds left in the second period that fans were able to throw hundreds of stuffed animals onto the ice for a good cause.
“We are giving away bears for a donation to be thrown onto the ice and collected and given to children in need,” Lieutenant Sabrina Silvey said as she passed out the stuffed bears to the crowds of people pouring into the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre Saturday, Dec. 8, night.
The Prince Rupert Rampage, Salvation Army and BC Liquor Store teamed up to help put bears on the ice and smiles on children’s faces this holiday season.
The bears were donated to the Salvation Army by the Liquor Store before the game. During the game, it was the Rampage’s responsibility to score at least one goal, and they took their time to get it, waiting almost the entire period before Corey Movold potted his second of the night.
Finally, after the game, the toys were gathered up by the Salvation Army, where they will be counted and distributed to families who may not be able to afford toys for their children.
The bears represent more than just playthings, they are a representation of the warm embrace communities have on those in need this time of year.
“It is the epitome of Christmas, so it is just a good thing to do, it really is,” said, Maj. Dave Macpherson of the Salvation Army.
The Teddy Bear Toss has been going on for 23 years in communities across North America and has collected millions of toys for children. The biggest teddy toss came this year at an AHL game in Pennsylvania. Ironically the name of the home team was the Hershey Bears, and during their Teddy Bear Toss, they collected an astounding 34,798 stuffed animals.
While Rupert and its Rampage may not be on the same scale as Hershey their donation still means a lot to the community and those involved.
“It’s great when we can help out with something like that,” said Roger Atchison, head coach of the Prince Rupert Rampage.
The Rampage didn’t stop collaborating with the Salvation Army there, the next day they hosted a by donation event called Skating With The Rampage, where members of the community could bring non-perishable food items for a chance to skate with their favourite players.