KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Patients at Royal Inland Hospital got an early Christmas surprise as the Kamloops Blazers stopped by Monday evening to deliver 200 teddy bears from the annual Teddy Bear Toss game that took place Sunday afternoon.
The Blazers made their way through the hospital visiting patients of all ages. This was Kamloops captain Nick Chyzowski’s third or fourth teddy bear delivery, and he told his teammates how special the community event is.
“It’s one of my favourite events. I just told them it’s really fun; it’s really rewarding giving teddy bears to people that are down in the dumps. They really appreciate it. It’s great to mingle with everyone,” Chyzowski said.
Left wing Jackson Shepard said the most unusual teddy bear he gave to a patient during the visit was a reindeer, adding RIH staff said you can’t get more Canadian than that.
“It’s really exciting seeing the patients get a little uplift and a bit of excitement from us. Just giving them the bears is something we do to lift their spirits up when they’re feeling down. Just to get a smile out of their face is something special,” Shepard said.
Both Blazers commented that this year’s Teddy Bear Toss was a bit different because the Blazers’ goal against the visiting Kootenay Ice was disallowed Sunday night. They explained it’s a special feeling when the fan-tossed bears pour down onto the ice.
“It’s an incredible feeling when they all come down. (It) just rains down on you so it’s pretty cool,” Shepard said.
Next up for the Blazers is a six-game road trip to take on Eastern Division teams before the Christmas break.