12/13/2013 11:11 PM
The Pirates have already celebrated their annual Pink in the Rink and Military Appreciation games, and now will hold their annual Teddy Bear Toss, presented by Central Maine Medical Center, when they host the Worcester Sharks on Saturday Dec. 14.
This is the fourth year the Pirates have done a Teddy Bear Toss and the first time the team will hold the event at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Fans are encouraged to bring a stuffed animal to the game and when the Pirates score their first goal, throw them onto the ice. Last year, the Pirates were able to collect 630 bears from the Teddy Bear Toss, which were donated to the Bruce Roberts Toy Fund. This year, the bears will be donated to the Lewiston/Auburn first responders to be used in times of crisis.
While the event is fun for fans, the players find it just as enjoyable. Tobias Rieder, riding on a three-game point streak for the Pirates, was a part of three Teddy Bear Tosses during his time in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers.
"In Kitchener, we always got lots of teddy bears," he said. "It was a great time."
Rieder said the Rangers always had a big turnout when it came to the Teddy Bear Toss.
"All three years I was there it was pretty much sold out," Rieder said. "There was always lots of bears out there. I think, actually, in the last year, we broke the record for the most bears. I forgot how many it was but there was lots of stuffed animals on the ice."
Brendan Shinnimin mirrored Rieder's excitement when talking about the teddy bear toss games he has been a part of in the past.
"Obviously, it's a great event," Shinnimin said. "They're a great atmosphere, they're a fun game to be a part of and obviously it's pretty neat if you score that goal."
Shinnimin said every guy is trying to be the one to get that first goal, and when its you, it is a great feeling.
"I was actually fortunate enough to score one of the goals my 19-year-old year," Shinnimin said, referring to one of the years when he played for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL. "It's a pretty neat experience when the teddy bears and the animals rain down over you."
The Pirates are looking forward to Saturday night and are hoping for a good showing of fan involvement.
"I hope lots of fans show up and throw lots of teddy bears on the ice," Rieder said. "I think it should be a great time."
Saturday will also be First Responders night, as First Responders from the Lewiston/Auburn area will be honored throughout the game. A portion of the 50/50 proceeds will also be donated to The Maine EMS Memorial and Education Site.
Tickets are still available for Saturday's game by calling the Androscoggin Bank Colisee Box a 783-2009 ext. 525 or online at thecolisee.com.