(U-WIRE) ITHACA, N.Y. — Each year on the night that the men’s hockey team hosts Harvard in Lynah Rink, denizens of the Lynah Faithful smuggle contraband into the rink in order to break the rules and continue the tradition of covering the ice with fish before the game.
However, the ban on throwing objects onto the ice will be lifted for one game this year. On Oct. 28, when the Red faces the Rochester Institute of Technology, junior Topher Scott hopes to see the ice covered with teddy bears.
While official practices started Wednesday, Scott has been busy during the preseason as he has organized the Steve Garner Teddy Bear Toss with the goal of raising $10,000 for the Franziska Racker Center and the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance (IBCA). Garner was a member of the Cornell Hockey Association and a season ticket-holder until his death in May of 2006. He was the president of the Tompkins Trust Company, and also worked with many charities in the area including the United Way and the IBCA.
“The motivation for [the Teddy Bear Toss] was because of him,” Scott said. “He was a great man … and with him passing away this summer, it just seemed right to recognize him for all the work he’s done even though he wouldn’t want to be recognized because that’s the kind of guy he was.”
Scott will be selling 1,000 teddy bears for 10 dollars each at the Red and White scrimmage Friday night, as well as during the hockey line on Saturday and at the Red’s exhibition game against York on Oct. 21 as well as the game against Robert Morris on Oct. 26. On Oct. 28, when Cornell hosts the Rochester Institute of Technology, people will be asked to throw the teddy bears they purchased onto the ice. While the money raised by the sales will go to the Rackers Center and the IBCA, the teddy bears themselves will be donated to the Ithaca Cops and Kids organization.
“With the Teddy Bear Toss, it will be a great way for the fans to get involved in the community also,” Scott said. “It’s a really big organization, a family kind of charity where everyone who wants to can get involved.”
Named an assistant captain for the 2006-07 season, Scott has impressed teammates with his leadership skills off the ice in putting this fundraiser together.
“I know Toph’s been working hard, and there’s actually been a lot of road blocks to it. Toph’s kind of persevered through it,” said senior captain Byron Bitz. “It’s good for him and it’s good to help out for a good cause.”
The causes — the Franziska Rackers Center and the IBCA — have been actively involved in helping the underprivileged and sick of the Ithaca community.
For nearly 60 years, the Rackers Center has worked as a nonprofit agency to provide early childhood education programs and help people with special needs.
The IBCA was formed in 1994 to offer support, information and advocacy for people in the surrounding areas whose lives have been affected by breast and gynecologic cancers. Over 300 people from Tompkins County and beyond turn to the IBCA for assistance each year.
“It’s something we don’t get to do a whole lot, because we’re so busy with school and hockey,” Bitz said. “But it’s good to get out in the community and help out in any way we can.”
To head coach Mike Schafer ’86, the work Scott has put into organizing this fundraiser is a testament to how much Garner meant to the men’s hockey program.
“He was a tremendous man,” Schafer said of Garner. “I think that a lot of qualities my own father had as far as caring about the community was very evident every time you talked to him. … It’s a great idea [and] Topher’s done a tremendous job being persistent with it to be able to do it. [Garner] was a great man, and hopefully it’s an event that will honor him in the right way.”