Scoring big goals has become almost routine for Ivan Lodnia, who has registered 15 goals (31 points) in only 19 contests this season. Still, some goals are more special than others. The California native recorded the marker— one that unleashed the rain of teddy bears— when he hit the twine at 3:23 of the first period of Saturday’s annual Teddy Bear Toss game, presented by Home Depot.
It was a tribute to the Minnesota Wild prospect’s scoring prowess and the generosity of IceDogs fans. In total, 3821 bears hit the ice for Victim Services of Niagara, who will distribute them to homes in need this holiday season.
“It’s awesome”, Lodnia said of the unique goal. “I was joking around maybe I’d get it, who knows you never know. I’ve never scored one before. When it went in it was pretty exciting to see all the teddy bears come out.”
Ultimately, the night marked a big victory for the club, and for the community, as the IceDogs’ participation in the Teddy Bear Toss underscores the importance placed on supporting the local community, something both Lodnia and his head coach, Billy Burke, touched on post-game.
“Honestly, the teddy bear game is special and giving back to the kids while playing is a huge honour,” Lodnia said.
“It’s really fun [and] we all look forward to it. It’s a good cause; I’m really happy to be part of a league that takes care of the community.”
Burke said the players are enthusiastic about their opportunity to brighten the holidays for children in need.
“It’s great; everyone does it across the AHL [and] the CHL [so] we all come together and do it,” Burke said in his post-game remarks.
“I know we’re going to the hospital and give some bears out. Everyone wants to go [and] there’s going to be a big group of us going over. We’re all extremely fortunate to be a part of this team and league and give back any chance we can— specifically here. I think our players go above and beyond what you’ll see with most teams in terms of caring, community involvement [and] being appreciative of the opportunities and giving back.”