Fort Myers, Fla. – Florida Everblades players paid a visit to Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida to spread holiday cheer, delivering teddy bears and other stuffed animals to young children Wednesday afternoon.
“All these kids are going through a tough time right now, and it’s the least we can do to come in here and put a smile on their faces,” explained Florida forward Kellan Tochkin.
Blades players, the Florida Everbabes and Swampee distributed toys collected during the 2013 IBERIABANK Teddy Bear Toss on December 7, in which over 6,100 stuffed animals rained down on the ice.
During their visit, the players visited individual rooms and spent time with the children who were hospitalized, learning about the kids and why they were there.
The reaction the players received is something few will forget.
“I met one little girl as soon as I walked in the door and talked to her for a little bit,” related second-year winger Mike Merrifield. “The next time I saw her, I came around the corner with a huge, 3-foot-tall teddy bear for her; the way she smiled and her eyes lit up and is something that I’ll always remember.”
In addition to the Children’s Hospital, the Everblades have also donated stuffed animals from the Teddy Bear Toss to various charities, organizations and children in need across Southwest Florida.