Sports

KGH and Kelowna Rockets partner on first ever Teddy Bear Toss tonight

The chief of medical staff at Kelowna General Hospital says tonight's (Dec. 6) first ever Teddy Bear Toss being held by the Kelowna Rockets is a great partnership for the hospital in its attempt to become more involved in the community.

Dr. Mike Ertel says while KGH has become one of the most exciting and dynamic hospitals in the country to work at, it's important that the growing health facility not lose sight of the importance of being involved with the community.

KGH will receive as many as 6,000 teddy bears that will be donated by the Kelowna Rockets at the first ever Teddy Bear Toss on Friday night at Prospera Place.

"We're really excited and appreciative to have the Rockets involved with us," said Ertel. "As a hospital we are trying to become more involved in community events and we want to get the word out about the great things that are happening. We're growing in leaps and bounds and we are providing world-class service, but we really want the hosptial to be as human as possible and still have that small town feel."

This year will be the first year the Rockets have asked fans to bring a teddy bear to the game as the club could not find a community group that could distribute as many as 6,000 teddy bears. But with the growth at KGH, the hospital stepped up and seized the opportunity and young patients in the emergency ward as well as other areas of the hospital will receive gifts that could make their hospital stay a little better.

"It will bring joy to the patients and to the staff," said Ertel. "When kids are stressed and you can give them a teddy bear it's a win, win. It can calm kids down and make a bad situation better."

Fans are asked to bring new teddy bears that are no taller than 12 inches. Bags and twist ties will be available at the rink. Rockets marketing director Anne-Marie Hamilton says they are thrilled to be able to help out KGH, especially young patients who may need some good news.

"We're really excited to add the Teddy Bear toss to our community involvement," said Hamilton. "This gives our fans an easy way to help out kids who are in the hospital during the Christmas season."

When the Rockets score the team's first goal against Everett on Friday night, fans will throw their teddy bears on the ice.  Kelowna also plays on Saturday, against Kootenay.

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