Twin Bridge Lightning youth team pick up donated teddy bears from the ice at the SIUE Club Hockey team’s second annual teddy bear toss vs. Kentucky on Jan. 25.

EDWARDSVILLE – The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Club Hockey Team collected 277 stuffed animals in its second annual teddy bear toss event against the University of Kentucky on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the East Alton Ice Arena. The club surpassed its goal of donating 200 teddy bears to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis.

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Special club sports teddy bears were available for purchase prior to the game for $15 with the proceeds going to Cardinal Glennon. One individual bought eight teddy bears for the event.

SIUE scored its first goal midway through the first period to tie the score 1-1, which is when the stuffed animals went sailing onto the ice. The Twin Bridge Lightning youth hockey team assisted with picking up the bears from the ice surface.

“It was an amazing sight to see so many teddy bears and stuffed animals being tossed onto the ice for a good cause,” said Recreation Programs Assistant Director Natalie Hawkins. “The SIUE club sports program is committed to giving back to others when they need it most.”

SIUE’s Club Football, and the Competitive Cheer and Dance Club were a few of the other club sports teams that donated teddy bears and attended the game with their families and friends.

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The stands were full of spectators, SIUE students, faculty and staff. Family members and fans of the Kentucky team also tossed teddy bears for the event.

Former Recreational Sports Graduate Assistant Joe Carrillo is credited with the idea. He proposed the event for the 2018-19 academic year as part of the community service project for the Sport Club executive council. A former intern with the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes, he was inspired by their teddy bear toss event.

The club sports program is always seeking new service projects to connect with Metro East communities. “Our department had a personal connection with Cardinal Glennon after a staff member’s child spent three months in their natal intensive care unit,” Hawkins said. “We will continue to sponsor the event as long as we have support from the SIUE student organizations, club sports and the SIUE community.”

The Sport Club executive council will connect with SSM Cardinal Glennon and determine a date to drop off the teddy bears.

Kentucky did prevail in the game, 7-2.

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose to shape a changing world. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 13,000.

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