Fans of the Gwinnett Gladiators are encouraged to bring a new teddy bear or stuffed animal to the Saturday game against the Greenville Road Warriors at the Arena at in Duluth, 7:05 p.m.
According to tradition, spectators toss the teddy bears and other plush toys onto the ice and interrupt the game after the Gladiators score their first goal. The toys are then collected and distributed to children’s charities in metro Atlanta an North Georgia.
The teddy bears and stuffed animals will then be to children's charities in metro Atlanta and North Georgia. This is the ninth year for the “Teddy Bear Toss.”
"Teddy Bear Toss has been a huge success with a great response from our fans over the past eight seasons," said Gladiators Team President Steve Chapman, in an announcement about the event. "Their enthusiastic, heartfelt support for this special community event has brought a joyous smile and warm hug to so many kids. I know our fans will make a huge difference again this year."
Collections from past tosses totaled over 45,000 stuffed animals and teddy bears that have found their way into the arms of kids affected by Hurricane Katrina and other causes including the Foster Children's Foundation, Cure Childhood Cancer, The Salvation Army, Gwinnett Children's Shelter, Rainbow Village, New Borns in Need, Gwinnett Children's Clinic, Georgia Cancer Specialists, Eastside Medical Center, Gwinnett County DFACS and the Children's Center for Hope and Healing.
The Gladiators will be working with many of the same organizations this year. A special team-sponsored “Gladiators Care-A-Van” will distribute toys in conjunction with player visitations with children.
In addition, the team will be pre-allocating a portion of new teddy bears and stuffed animals for patients at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite. A select number of stuffed animals earmarked for this facility will be "bagged" upon entry to the Arena at Gwinnett Center to keep them from being contaminated by exposure to the ice.
The Gladiators are the ECHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres and the Phoenix Coyotes of the National Hockey League.