The Utica College men's hockey team will host its 13th annual New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss on Saturday, December 9, which will be broadcast on WKTV. For one local player, scoring the first goal of the contest would be extra special.
Clinton native, Gregg Burmaster, grew up watching the Teddy Bear Toss game.
"I've only been to two Teddy Bear Toss games both when I was really little, really little so I just remember as a little kid seeing it," said Burmaster. "I mean it's an experience unlike anything I've experienced in a hockey arena. It's really special that something that most every hockey player doesn't get to experience. Seeing those teddy bears fly is really cool and it's exciting as a fan too."
On Saturday, he'll be on the other side of the glass.
"He's heard of the Teddy Bear Toss game, he's been to the game before he just never had a chance to play in it," said Pioneers head coach Gary Heenan. "So a little down on his luck at his previous institution, it's his chance. And it plays into it you know because he's well aware of that game and would love to play in front of that sold out crowd with tremendous fan interaction. It'll be a special night for him and we're thrilled to have them here."
As a local product, there will be a quite a few people looking for Burmaster to be the first Pioneer to find the back of the net.
"Yeah there will be some people betting on him that he will be the goal scorer and get the coveted New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss goal," said Heenan.
"It would definitely mean a lot to me. You know growing up here, being from the area I know what this game is all about. You know going to the games as a kid I know that there's a lot of anticipation behind it and it would definitely mean a lot to me to score this goal in front of a lot of friends and family."
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