USA Hockey Teddy Bear Night A Success Despite Loss

Editors’ Note: This story was provided by Brian Pierson who can be heard on the SRD Roadshow on Saturdays from 9-11a on or on on demand.

Plymouth — The University of Michigan’s debut in USA Hockey Arena fell on the night of a special event, Teddy Bear Toss Night.

Fans who purchased a teddy bear before the game, or brought a new bear on their own, were encouraged to throw it on the ice following the first USA goal. All the profits of the bears sold at the rink, and the bears themselves were donated to Plymouth Community United Way.

Both home and road fans, including the mother of Michigan assistant captain Jake Slaker, bought a teddy bear before the game. The Slaker family who is from San Diego, CA could easily get behind the event because it was “for a great cause.”

Canton resident Dyane Townley, who’s been volunteering with the United Way for a few years now, and her family manned the table collecting money, and passing out bears to those in attendance.

Even though she’s not a fan of hockey, she said she loves to get out and volunteer for the United Way because “They have lots of opportunities where our whole family can work together and volunteer. We enjoy giving back to the community and we really enjoy working with their volunteer coordinator Randy Williams.”

Townley has volunteered for a number United Way events, including Rake-N-Go, which involves light cleaning and yard work for disabled citizens in the Plymouth and Canton area. She’s also volunteered to help mailing in their office, and has participated in a few previous teddy bear tosses.

According to Townley, USA Hockey provides the bears for this special event. The proceeds go to United Way and the bears go to United Way so that they can pass out the bears to local families for the holidays.

“It’s a very good deal for the United Way”, she chuckled.

The bears had to wait until they began their journey to ice level. All the stuffed animals came flying from the stands onto the ice after a goal from Harvard commit Oliver Wahlstrom that give the US its first score in the second period, 4-1.

Michigan came out firing with three goals scored in the first period. Senior captain Tony Calderone, who ended up with a hat trick on the night, scored two of those goals.

USA answered back with three consecutive goals in the second period to cut Michigan’s lead to 4-3, before the Wolverines responded with three unanswered goals of their own in the third period to make for a 7-3 final.

The US team has another much -anticipated matchup against Michigan State on Dec. 16, which will also be held at USA Hockey Arena.