Red Wings’ biggest score comes off the ice

High Prairie RCMP Victim Services and Lakeshore Regional Police Service Victim Services each received about 200 teddy bears that the High Prairie Red Wings junior hockey team collected at its second annual Teddy Bear Toss on Dec. 16. Front row, left-right, are Red Wings’ head coach Trent Meyaard, Lakeshore victim services co-ordinator Rose Toner and High Prairie victim services co-ordinator Verna Isaac. Red Wing players, left-right, are Andrew Gauchier, Kaden Cardinal, Dayton Shantz, Kaden Desjarlais, Brad Roncin, Harlan Noskey, Owen Paul, K.C. Jones and Nolan Noskey. Keegan Ferguson is getting a big bear hug in front.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Victims of crime and crisis will be comforted by a special donation from the High Prairie Red Wings hockey team and its fans.
High Prairie Victim Services and Lakeshore Regional Police Service Victim Services shared almost 400 comforting creatures that were collected at the Red Wings’ second annual Teddy Bear Toss held Dec. 16.
Lakeshore was a new recipient and is grateful for the donation.
“We appreciate all the teddy bears we received,” says Rose Toner, co-ordinator of the Lakeshore police that serves several Indigenous communities in the region.
“With five First Nations, we have lots of families and individuals who need the support and cuddles you get from the bears,” Toner says.
Based at Driftpile Cree Nation, Lakeshore also serves Sucker Creek First Nation, Kapawe’no First Nation and Swan River First Nation in the High Prairie and Big Lakes County regions, as well as Sawridge First Nation in Slave Lake.
Teddy bears were presented by the Greater Metro Hockey League team to both police support services Jan. 3.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude by the generous donation,” High Prairie program co-ordinator Verna Isaac says.
“The teddy bears offer are real sense of comfort in a stressful situation, especially for children and youth that we work with.”
Adults are also comforted by teddy bears.
“The sense of comfort is the same for everyone,” Isaac says.
“When you can physically hold on to something, it makes the comfort real.”
Se notes the service is valuable.
“We work in a field where we hope no one needs our services
“But when they do, it is a genuine honour to walk with them on their journey.”
Victim assistance cannot thank the Red Wings’ staff, players and fans enough for their support, says Isaac, who notes the leadership of head coach Trent Meyaard.
“It is amazing to know that Trent and his staff are instilling a giving and compassionate spirit within both their players and their fans,” Isaac says.
“We are honoured to be recipients of that.”
Meyaard says he realized the value of the teddy bears to victim services when he coached the High Prairie under-18 hockey for several years. The team also held a teddy bear toss and donated the bears to victim assistance.
“The comments we received from victims were a true sign we chose the right organization,” Meyaard says.
He urges other groups and businesses to join together to donate as many teddy bears to as many charities as possible.

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