LEE COUNTY, Fla.- The Florida Everblades made a special visit to the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida today, bringing teddy bears to kids.
It is all part of the annual 'teddy bear toss.' At Saturday night's game, people launched about 7,000 teddy bears onto the ice after the Everblades' first goal.
Ryan O'Byrne scored the magic goal. He says, "I've never played in a teddy bear game before and a minutes and a half into the game, I scored a goal from the point and next thing I know there's a thousand teddy bears on the ice. It was really exciting, I talked to my dad on the phone and he said I couldn't get my smile off my face."
This is O'Byrne's first weekend playing with the Everblades. He last played on the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL, but because of the lockout, he is now on the ice with the Everblades.
He is happy to be a part of the team, and able to give back to the community. "Kids at this age should not be in the hospital, they should be outside with their friends playing so if we can give them a teddy bear and bring a smile to their day then hopefully we are doing our job," he says.
Almost the whole team came out to the hospital for today's event. They went room to room, bringing smiles and stuffed animals to the kids.
The kids were excited to see the athletes visit them for the afternoon, and some came away with teddy bears even bigger than themselves.
This was the third year for the Everblades teddy bear toss.