Over 400 teddies donated by generous fans at Air The Bear
It was raining in Milton Keynes on Saturday night - raining teddies, with a localised downpour at the Planet Ice MK Arena, thanks to generous ice hockey fans.
Every December, the town’s Elite League ice hockey team - the MK Lightning - hold an ‘Air The Bear’ event in one of their December home fixtures. Supporters are asked to donate a new teddy by hurling it onto the ice when the home team scored their first goal of the evening. Some will go to local children receiving treatment at MK University Hospital, to be handed over by the players, whilst many will be used by the MK Hospital Charity in fund-raising efforts for the proposed Milton Keynes Cancer Charity. Until the distribution gets underway the bears will be stored by Lightning sponsor Acute Ambulance and Medical Services.
On Saturday evening, after conceding the night’s opening goal to visitors Manchester Storm, Lightning equalised with a Nelson Armstrong goal, less than two minutes before the end of the first period - and that goal was the signal for teddies to rain down!
Supporters all around the 2,500-seater Arena began throwing a tirade of teddies which took matchnight helpers some time to collect - aided by players of both sides.
The Lightning went on to stun their visitors with three more goals in five second-period minutes and a fifth in the game’s dying seconds.
Club owner Graham Moody said, “Once again we’re absolutely delighted to be able to help the MK Hospital Charity with their work, thanks to our Air The Bear event.
‘The MK Cancer Centre will be an absolutely vital part of healthcare in the local area - around 4,000 people every year are diagnosed with cancer in Milton Keynes and this new facility will allow for specialist treatment and support for anyone diagnosed, and for their families.
“We want to thank every fan who donated a teddy at Saturday’s game. An incredible amount of cuddly toys were collected, with the total amount being over the 400 mark. The players will be visiting the children’s wards at MK hospital very soon to give out some of the bears to children receiving treatment, to help cheer them up during what’s a very stressful time for families while a child is in hospital.”