Over $2,000 and enough teddy bears to fill a half-ton truck were donated to the Ronald McDonald House during the Chestermere Heating and Cooling Lakers Peewee AA Teddy Bear Toss on Nov. 24.
The organizer of the Teddy Bear Toss, Tyson Kapty, was inspired to create an event that brought the community together for a Community Development class he is taking at Mount Royal University.
“Part of the class was building community spirit and getting people out and about and connected. The biggest thing was connecting everybody. I believe that’s what we did,” Kapty said.
“It went quite well. We were a group of seven; we all split up the workload,” he said.
The group had various ideas for events to host that would benefit the community, such as a food drive.
However, the group took inspiration from the Calgary Hitmen, and believed the Teddy Bear Toss was a great way to kick-off the project.
“With Tyson being with the Chestermere hockey team, it was a good fit for us to work with them,” said group member Joel Hartzell.
“We were pretty happy with how things turned out, it went great, and the sense of community was great,” Hartzell added. “We expected it to be a good turnout, but it was better than I had hoped.”
Although the Chestermere Heating and Cooling Lakers Peewee AA team were excited to play during the Teddy Bear Toss, they were unable to score during the game, resulting in the bears being tossed onto the ice after the game.
“The score was seven to zero. It was unfortunate, there was a lot of pressure on the kids,” Kapty said.
“They ended up playing the game well, but couldn’t quite get a goal which was unfortunate, but we ended up tossing the teddy bears at the end of the game,” Kapty added. “They played well, they just gripped their sticks a little too tight. I put too much pressure on them with the Teddy Bear Toss.”
Without the support of the community, and everyone who donated teddy bears, food, and clothing the Teddy Bear Toss wouldn’t have been possible.
“Everyone was so gracious. I was thankful for them,” Hartzell said.
“It was a positive experience for everyone for such a great cause, and everyone was happy to be a part of it. We were grateful and thankful for everything that everyone brought to the table,” he said.
Adding, “Thank you to everyone for coming out. The community of Chestermere was great to us.”
Moving forward, Kapty is interested in making the Teddy Bear Toss an annual event in the community.
“I would love to do something like this over and over, it was a great experience to do,” he said.