Bears for backpacks

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Hockey is a rough and tumble sport.

Thursday, University of Mary players showed off their softer side by handing out teddy bears to kids at Jeannette Myhre Elementary School in Bismarck.

During a recent UMary game, when the first goal was scored people in the crowd threw teddy bears onto the ice. Those stuffed animals are being donated to children in the backpack program. This was done in a collaboration with United Way, which gives packs full of food to 1,245 kids in need every two weeks.

"We had a great start this year to do it. A lot of generous people out there giving out the stuffed animals, and if we can keep on growing on this in the next two or three years," said Mike Offerdahl, assistant athletic director.

The UMary hockey team's goal for the next few years is that every child who receives a backpack full of food will get to take home a teddy bear.