K’s ask fans to toss teddy bears

Stuffed animals will later be given to traumatized kids.

There have been a few incidents over the years where Komets fans have shown their displeasure by throwing things such as ice scrapers, Frisbees and beverage cups on the ice. Sunday they hope to show their pleasure throwing something else, and they won’t even get in trouble for it.

The team is holding its first Teddy Bear Toss in recent memory, asking fans to bring new or gently used teddy bears or other stuffed animals to the game to throw onto the ice after the Komets score their first goal against Evansville.

After the chaos, the Disorderly Bear Den of Good Bears of the World will distribute the stuffed animals to abused, traumatized or at-risk children and lonely adults in the Fort Wayne area.

“Think of it this way, this will be the one and only time that Komet fans are not only allowed to throw objects onto the ice during the game but are also encouraged to do so,” said Komets Executive Vice President and Co-Owner Scott Sproat.

Besides cleaning up the ice, the Disorderly Bear Den of Good Bears of the World will also be on hand before the game to sell teddy bears for $5 to fans who may have forgotten to bring one. All proceeds will go to the charity organization.

“We’re encouraging fans to bring as many bears as they want to, as many stuffed animals as they can,” Sproat said. “Clean out those attics, closets, and toy rooms and bring them all. Pass them out to other fans if you need help tossing them. The more the merrier.”

The local den of Good Bears of the World started in September 2006 with six members and now has 24, giving out up to 2,500 teddy bears each year. The Disorderly Bear Den partners with hospitals, police, struggling families, nursing homes, adoption agencies and other social-service agencies.

The most donations they’ve ever received at one time was 700, treasurer and local founder Donna Gordon-Hearn said. There are 60 volunteers and at least 10 trucks coming Sunday to help collect everything.

“I’ve seen clips of Teddy Bear Tosses at other hockey games and it just feels electric,” Gordon-Hearn said.

The charity group’s mission statement is, “The Disorderly Bear Den of Good Bears of the World has special feelings for children and elderly people and know how a teddy bear helps soften the harshness of this world. Our mission is to put the comfort of a teddy bear into the arms and hearts of traumatized children and lonely adults.”

The Komets’ goal is to stock the organization for an entire year with enough stuffed animals to last until next year’s event.

“It’s up to our fans… and that’s the good news because our fans have almost always shown up in a big way in support of events like this,” Sproat said.

“Whether it is raising money for various charities, providing comfort items for our troops overseas, coats for kids in our community, food for food drives or books for book drives, Komet fans have shown that they’re known for answering the bell. This should be fun!”

<br><center> King moving on </center><br>

At the request of the Komets, forward Tristan King has been recalled by the Dallas Stars and assigned to Evansville. King has one goal and is minus-12 in 12 games with Fort Wayne this season.

<br> <center>Up next </center> <br>

Face-off: Komets at Kalamazoo, 7:30 tonight; Evansville at Komets, 5 p.m. Sunday

Radio: WOWO, 1190-AM <br>

<center> Online </center><br>

For more on the Komets, follow Blake Sebring on Twitter at blakesebring or at his blog, tailingthekomets.com.