Lehigh Valley

Phantoms teddy bear toss a huge success

Nearly 5,000 toys collected

HANOVER TOWNSHIP, Pa. - Phantoms Fans donned their usual gear at Saturday's game but they also brought something else - big, fluffy teddy bears and other stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes. Fans didn't have to wait long before they could chuck them on the ice.

"There's always some nervous excitement going into teddy bear toss because you know or at least you think you know we are going to score; it’s just a matter of when," said Dan Fremuth with Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

For the last several years the Phantoms have taken care of business early and this year was no exception; just 1 minute and 25 seconds into Saturday's game Matt Reed scored a goal, triggering an avalanche of nearly 5,000 toys.

"It was kind of overwhelming to see and to help them clean up," said Matt Reed, a forward for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

And the experience continued into Monday as it was all hands on deck as Phantoms employees counted and bagged up the toys so they could be delivered to the Valley Youth House.

Excitement only grew as Phantom's mascot MeLVin helped unload several trucks and cars stuffed with the stuffed animals.

"These teddy bears make the children we work with so happy. They are really excited to receive them everybody loves a teddy bear," said Christina Schoemaker of the Valley Youth House.

The organization helps provide housing and mental and behavioral health programs to more than 30,000 kids across 12 counties in Pennsylvania.

"To know that there are people that are opening up their hearts to help others is really special," said Schoemaker.

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