BYRON CENTER, Mich. -- Grand Rapids Catholic Central has one of the most successful hockey programs in the state. The Cougars made the state finals last year, but as we approach the holiday season, coach Mike Slobodnik is making it a point to teach his team valuable lessons that go beyond the game."
"High School sports is not about winning and losing games always," explained coach Mike Slobodnik. "It's about teaching kids life lessons and hopefully teaching them things that are gonna apply to their life. We've got a lot of fortunate kids on our team. They play hockey and I think to be able to give back to the community and to give back to people is important."
The Cougar hockey team is giving back by hosting a Teddy Bear toss during their game with Forest HIlls Central on Friday night. Each teddy bear tossed onto the ice following the first goal of the game will go to a child in need.
"Obviously, it's for a great cause," said Slobodnik. "The thing I'm trying to educate our guys about is it's about the cause, it's not about us."
"To be able to help out kids in need, donate teddy bears, especially this time of year with Christmas coming up it's just an overall great cause," said goalie Jacob McClelland.
Anyone wearing a hockey jersey or bringing a teddy bear will be admitted free of charge to the game and get to witness a pretty cool sight when all those teddy bears hit the ice.
"Yeah I mean, there's not a better sight in hockey right now than watching people and watching all the guys get out there and having to pick them up and knowing that each one of those teddy bears is going toward a good cause and going to a family or a kid in need," said Slobodnik.
"It's gonna be a cool sight to see all the teddy bears flying across the ice," said McClelland. "I guess we've got thousands of them, so it's just gonna be a cool experience."