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Illini hockey gives back to community with teddy bear toss

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Illini hockey gives back to community with teddy bear toss

The line on the ice celebrates a goal against Robert Morris at the Ice Arena on Nov. 2. The Illini shut out Robert Morris 6-0.

The line on the ice celebrates a goal against Robert Morris at the Ice Arena on Nov. 2. The Illini shut out Robert Morris 6-0.

Elisabeth Neely

The line on the ice celebrates a goal against Robert Morris at the Ice Arena on Nov. 2. The Illini shut out Robert Morris 6-0.

Elisabeth Neely

Elisabeth Neely

The line on the ice celebrates a goal against Robert Morris at the Ice Arena on Nov. 2. The Illini shut out Robert Morris 6-0.

By Jared Farmer, Staff Writer

December is only days away, but Illini Hockey is already getting into the spirit of giving. In the series opener against Davenport on Friday, the Illini will host their own teddy bear toss.

“Each one has netted us over 200 animals each weekend, so it’s been really successful from that standpoint,” said head coach Nick Fabbrini. “So I’d like to think it makes a difference and really brings people joy to start off the holiday season.”

The teddy bear toss continues to be a very popular  team a chance to directly interact with the fans that will be coming out this weekend. It has even prompted some competition among the Illini, with each player getting a little bit of satisfaction from potentially being the guy that scores the first goal, beginning the stuffed animal storm. It not only gives the team an extra boost of excitement to start the game but also provides an opportunity to get involved with giving back to the community.

“I think any time that a sports team can connect with a community like this and give back, it means a little more,” Fabbrini said. “It’s always nice to see people get involved and bring everything from some of the smallest teddy bears to some of the biggest. So I think it’s fun and, again, a way to give back to the community as a whole.”

The 2018 toss occurs as Illinois prepares to face one of its toughest opponents of the season in Davenport. Ranked No. 4 overall in the country, Davenport is currently 14-3 on the season, while No. 10 ranked Illinois is currently 10-7 after splitting games against Rhode Island and University of Nevada, Las Vegas on the weekend before Thanksgiving.

“These are big enough games as they are for sure, and we’re definitely going to be zeroed in with a sense of urgency this weekend, so I don’t know how much more important this weekend could be for us,” Fabbrini said. “But anytime you have a special event, you want to win, so we’re definitely going to try getting both of these games.”

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