The Kelowna Rockets have always been about more than just the game of hockey.
Whether it’s a family skate or classroom visits, the Rockets are committed to building a better community as part of their day-to-day operations
“We just feel that it’s important, that we are involved and engaged 100 per cent,” said Anne-Marie Hamilton, the Rockets’ director of marketing.
In keeping with that tradition is the team’s annual teddy bear toss, where fans are encouraged to bring a stuffed animal and throw it on the ice when the first Kelowna goal is scored.
The Rockets then deliver the numerous stuffies to Kelowna General Hospital in person the following day, where they are handed out to children in the pediatric ward, as well as elderly patients in the rehabilitation ward.
“A lot of our patients look forward to it,” said Megan Helgason, a clinical operations director of medicine and rehabilitation at KGH.
“The (young patients) are obviously here for not great reasons, and it is such a great thing for the Rockets players to come,” Helgason said.
The teddy bear toss is a Christmas tradition that the players love to be involved with.
“Handing out this stuff to the elderly and to the children, it makes us really happy,” said Rockets captain Nolan Foote. “It puts a smile on their face and it puts on smile on our face.”
It was Foote’s first-period marker against the Prince George Cougars that made it rain teddy bears at Prospera Place last Saturday.
“Seeing all the teddy bears come down, it feels good,” said Foote.
The Christmas tradition is a hit with patients of all ages.
“I got a unicorn teddy bear,” said Riley Braim, a young patient at KGH.
“I’ve always loved teddy bears,” Helen Edgar said of her gift teddy bear.
The Kelowna Rockets’s teddy bear toss is just another testament to the team’s commitment to building a better community.