Metro/Robson Fletcher Calgary Hitmen defenceman Spencer Humphries hands a stuffed animal to Olivia Dailey, 3, at the Alberta Children’s Hospital while her father Mark Dailey looks on.

Less than a day after collecting roughly 22,000 teddy bears from the Scotiabank Saddledome ice, the Calgary Hitmen helped deliver the stuffed animals directly to kids and local charities Monday.

Members of the city’s WHL franchise were up bright and early, hauling bag after bag from the back of a semi trailer and loading them into waiting vehicles for the Salvation Army, Calgary Food Bank and dozens of other charitable organizations.

Left-winger Brendan Hurley said he and his teammates could barely fit into the trailer to start moving the stuffed animals out.
“A bunch of us climbed into the back and we were pretty much up to the roof,” he said.

By mid-morning, the Hitmen were hand-delivering hundreds of bears to kids at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

“The kids just love it,” said Liz Ballendine of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

“It’s always so nice to realize that people outside the hospital are thinking of them.”

The Calgary Food Bank received 100 bags full of stuffed animals, which spokesperson Kathryn Sim will be handed out to families with children throughout December and will also be included as gifts in “birthday kits” for even more kids well into 2013.

Teddy toss facts:

  • The stuffed animals were donated by Hitmen fans at Sunday’s game against the Kootenay Ice, as part of the 18th annual Teddy Bear Toss.
  • As is tradition, fans flung the animals onto the ice in a giant cascade after the Hitmen’s first goal of the game, scored this year by Pavlo Padakin.

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