Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Robert Morris

A tradition that bears repeating

Amanda Pantaleo
RMU captain Amanda Pantaleo poses with a bear. -- JENN HOFFMAN

NEVILLE TWP., Pa. — When it comes to giving back to the community, there are many ways for teams to go about it.

One of the most fun ways is to involve the fan, and that’s what the Robert Morris women’s hockey team has done with its teddy bear toss, which they just completed for the second time.

The Colonials asked fans to bring a new stuffed animal or teddy bear to the game and after the Colonials’ first goal, throw it on to the ice to be donated to Children’s Hospital.

It’s a promotion held by many minor-league hockey teams across the continent, but the Colonials’ version is the first one to happen in Pittsburgh.

“I think it adds to the excitement,” forward Jessica Gazzola said. “To have a good turn out and have all of those people in the stands and all of those teddy bears on the ice, it was kind of rewarding getting that goal. You know the fans were there to support us, it was awesome.”

Head coach Paul Colontino let his players take the forefront of the charity planning efforts, but he appreciates what they’ve done. In the midst of a long pressure-packed season, where the two points on the line every night is about the only thing that enters anyone’s consciousness, it’s a good thing to take a step back now an then.

“As a player you’re on the ice playing, as a coach you’re into it coaching, then you score a goal and all of these teddy bears get thrown on the rink,” Colontino said. “The truth is, I think for everybody, for just a few minutes you think differently about whats happening, and how lucky we all are to be coaching, to be playing, to be competing and what a great cause it is.

“The players do an awesome job setting it up. It’s a great cause and it’s fun to see and more importantly, it’ll be better when all of those teddy bears reach their homes.”

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