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Lethbridge Hurricanes deliver Teddy Bear Toss donations to Chinook Regional Hospital


The annual Teddy Bear Toss game is a beloved tradition for players of the Lethbridge Hurricanes.

And this year, the Hurricanes did something they have not been able to do since 2019 -- deliver the donated teddy bears to Chinook Regional Hospital.

Previous visits had been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions and an RSV outbreak last year.

This was Blake Swetlikoff's first time being able to visit the hospital as a member of the Hurricanes.

He recognizes the impact.

"You do these kinds of events and you realize there are things a lot bigger than hockey. We're providing teddy bears for children that are going through some pretty traumatic experiences, maybe surgery, things that are life-changing," Swetlikoff said.

Last Friday, nearly 3,784 teddy bears and 926 toques were thrown onto the Enmax Centre ice.

The stuffies will go to 20 different charities across Lethbridge and southern Alberta, but Chinook Regional Hospital is always one of the biggest recipients.

"It's awesome to get out into the community and do this kind of stuff," said Hurricanes captain Joe Arntsen.

"We have such great fans and support from the community here in Lethbridge, so to come out and give back to them is always awesome."

This was Arntsen's first time being able to deliver teddy bears to the hospital -- a day he had been looking forward to for a long time.

"I haven't had the opportunity to come here to do this. To make someone's day better that might need it ... it's such a great cause and it means a lot," he said.

Young patients at the hospital were just as excited -- maybe more so.

Jodie Anderson-De Boer, child life specialist at the hospital, says these visits can go a long way to improving a child's stay.

"Immediate smiles and immediate comfort. My whole role is comfort and coping for children as they're hospitalized. A lot of that stress comes from it being a new place -- it's a scary place, there's a lot of unknowns," Anderson-De Boer said.

"That teddy bear just takes the edge off. It's very welcome from our families." Top Stories

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