Tonight’s Illinois State Hockey game will double as a Teddy Bear Toss, collecting stuffed animals to be donated to Toys for Tots.
Audience members are asked to bring children’s toys to the U.S. Cellular Coliseum to be thrown onto the ice after the Redbirds score their first goal against the Fighting Illini of University of Illinois.
“I talk to the guys all the time and remind them that being a part of this team is not all about games and goals,” Head Coach Brian Corley said. “It’s about developing themselves as people and helping the community.”
Toys for Tots, the recipient of the donated toys, is a non-for-profit Marine Corps Reserve organization that strives to bring the holiday spirit to less fortunate children.
Along with the Teddy Bear Toss, tonight is ISU Hockey’s Greek night. Members of ISU fraternities and sororities are encouraged to attend the game.
“There are so many members of the Greek community at ISU, so making the game Greek night will get more people to come out and watch the game,” team member Joshua Ambrosat said.
Team members have been doing whatever they can to publicize tonight’s event. The team has been spreading the word though Facebook and its team website, as well as personally visiting ISU’s sororities and fraternities to invite them to the game.
The idea for the Teddy Bear Toss came from collaborations between the hockey team and the Registered Student Organization Administration. The RSO program has also helped provide publicity for the event via public relations staff and student interns.
ISU will be playing against its fellow Illinois team from the University of Illinois.
“It’s always a big event playing against them because our schools are so close,” Corley said.
More than 1,000 fans are expected to attend the Coliseum for tonight’s hockey, Greek and philanthropic festivities. Corley hopes to attribute an increased attendance to the Thursday night placement of the game.
“I think it makes the kids more inclined to come to the game if they can go out and explore Bloomington afterward,” Corley said. “It should be a rocking good time.”
The hockey team is thankful for the increased interest, not only for bringing publicity to its program, but also for helping give back to the community.
“We’re doing a good deed for a good program,” Ambrosat said.
The ISU hockey team faces off against the University of Illinois at 7 p.m. tonight at the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.