“Arriving December 2’nd at the War Memorial Arena, I had no idea the journey I was about to begin. But it was going to be special! That’s me on the right. The Teddy Bear holding the Teddy Bear.
We entered the arena and noticed that almost every seat had furry friends like me – maybe not exactly, some were bigger, most were smaller, bears, puppies, ducks and even a Minion – all sitting on their seats in anticipation. But anticipation of what?
There was a hockey game just beginning, a lot of men chasing a little black thing on the ice. Everyone was on the edge of their seats anticipating something wonderful.he next thing I knew, the crowd roared, jumped to their feet and I was flying; sailingover the glass and landing on the cool ice while thousands of my stuffed friends joined me. More and more toys flew – I thought the rain of toys would never stop. Nearly 4,000 of us landed on the ice; the start of an incredible journey to a beautiful end.
We were all gathered up by smiling and excited people. Hockey players, Pee-Wee hockey kids, men in suits and the boys who run the shovels when there are breaks in the game. I was picked up by one of the little guys in a red jersey and placed in a bag for my next trip.
It was a cozy trailer with all of my friends snuggled around me. As we rode and bumped along, I wondered what would be happening next, and who I would meet next, and where I would eventually go.
The door opened and the light streamed in. I saw happy, smiling men in black shirts with a yellow oval on the front with the words “Stanley Steemer” printed across. Bag after bag was taken from the trailer, and I heard the muffled sounds of machinery coming from the other room.
Soon it was my turn and I was carried into a bright room where the same men were cleaning all my friends. I was carefully, thoroughly washed and disinfected and placed where blowers gently dried me off. As I sat there, a nice man who apparently was directing the cleaners, came and had his picture taken with me. I felt very, very special at that moment.”
Every one of the toys are special, and are destined for the Salvation Army’s Christmas Bureau where they will become the new best friend for many of Central New York’s needy children.
This is the 7’th year that Stanley Steemer had partnered with the Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club for the Teddy Bear Toss. This year, more toys were collected than any previous event, nearly 4,000, all being donated and distributed through the Salvation Army.
This charitable act is standard practice for both the Syracuse Crunch Hockey Club and for Stanley Steemer. They have been working together since 2003 when the signature Stanley Steemer ice resurfacer made its debut. When the idea of the Teddy Bear Toss presented itself, both organizations enthusiastically determined to bring the event to Syracuse. This year is the 7’th Annual, and there will be many more to come.
Jeff Trisciani, owner of Stanley Steemer of Syracuse, says “This is our way to give back to the Central New York Community for supporting and blessing our business.” Jim Sarosy, COO of the Crunch echoes that sentiment, praising the loyal fans, and his players who seem to thrive on community service – when they aren’t entertaining their fans with first class hockey.
The Teddy Bear Toss is a big event – thousands of fans bringing and throwing the toys on to the ice – but it is only a tiny corner of the Salvation Army’s Christmas bureau where between three and four thousand of Central New York’s less fortunate are provided with Christmas dinner, books, toys, personal items and, of course, Teddy Bears.
The Salvation Army does its good work through the donations of time by over a thousand volunteers and the donations of money, food, and all the other things given at the Christmas bureau. Shoppingtown in DeWitt is donating the space for the bureau, Wegmans provides turkeys, food and manpower, Hess provides toy trucks and the list goes on forever.
The donations are gratefully accepted by those who need them – but in many cases, the most memorable moment will be when a child, facing the possibility of a dismal Christmas, finds a new friend waiting under the tree, courtesy of The Syracuse Crunch, Stanley Steemer and the Salvation Army.
This year’s Christmas Bureau will be held Wednesday, December 20 at the vacant JC Penney store at Shoppingtown in DeWitt. The location has the benefit of lots of parking, and ample space for people to wait, out of the Syracuse weather.