The Summerside Western Capitals’ first goal on Saturday will be a big one.
That is because the Maritime Junior Hockey League team is holding its annual Teddy Bear Toss.
“When we score our first goal everybody chucks the teddy bears on the ice,” said Caps general manager Pat McIver, who noted this event is in its seventh year.
“We started it back in 2013 and it was the Chad Gallant Memorial,” explained McIver. “We have moved on from that and collected a lot of teddy bears for that cause over the years and now we are teaming up with the Boys and Girls Club with their toy drive.
“All of the teddy bears will go to families in need along with first responders as well. It’s exciting for us and we always get a lot of teddy bears.”
McIver added Novus Auto Glass in Summerside is currently filling a net and anyone unable to attend the game but wishing to donate can drop off teddy bears there.
The Capitals and Edmundston Blizzard have developed a rivalry on the ice in recent years and McIver chuckled that it may even carry over to each team’s respective Teddy Bear Toss. The Capitals were the opposition for the Blizzard’s event on Sunday when 2,700-plus Edmundston fans responded in a big way.
“We are competitive with (Edmundston),” said McIver. “They had a great crowd and filled three trucks, so obviously we would like to fill three trucks.
“Obviously, anything is a help, especially this time of the year.”
McIver noted the Caps’ organization is really proud that “a lot of the players donated their own money” to purchase turkeys for needy families over Christmas.
“Most guys playing with us are pretty fortunate and they have the means to be able to do that,” added McIver.