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By: Mike Peck
IceHogs goalie Corey Crawford helps children with Mother House decorate ornaments for the Mother House Christmas Tree.

Players adopt six local families through the HUGS program

Rockford, Ill.- With the holiday season in full swing, the Rockford IceHogs have joined in the holiday spirit.  This Friday, IceHogs players will present local families gifts through the Winnebago County Health Department’s HUGS program following the game against the Rochester Americans.   

Six families will be invited out to the Rockford MetroCentre for Friday’s contest, and following the game, the IceHogs’ special guests will be invited to receive holiday gifts from IceHogs players.  HUGS stands for Helping Urge Great Success and has benefited young mothers between the ages of 13 and 19 in the Rockford community since 1993.

Families in the program where chosen after submitting letters and a Christmas wish list.  Each participant in the HUGS program attends a weekly support group.   HUGS is a part of a statewide program called the Illinois Pregnancy Project.

On Saturday night, the IceHogs are hosting its Annual Teddy Bear Toss for charity.  Fans are invited to bring new or gently used teddy bears and stuffed animals to the game against the Quad City Flames and after the IceHogs score their first goal, fans can toss the stuffed animals onto the ice. 

The stuffed animals will then be collected by IceHogs players and staff members and distributed to local hospitals and charities to brighten the holidays for some underprivileged kids in the Rock River Valley.  Last season, the IceHogs collected a record 1,569 stuffed animals from their generous fans.

On Wednesday night, IceHogs skaters Gavin Morgan, Corey Crawford and Niklas Hjalmarsson along with IceHogs mascots Hammy and Hammer Hog celebrated Christmas with the parents and children of Mother House Crisis Nursery.   IceHogs players helped children decorate ornaments for the Mother House Christmas tree.

Some of the bears collected from Saturday’s Teddy Bear Toss will be presented to Mother House on Wednesday, Dec. 19.  Mother House serves families and mothers in need of emergency child care during a time of crisis 24-hours a day.

For more information about the IceHogs in the community, call (815) 986-6465.

Next Home Game: Friday, Dec. 14 vs. Rochester Americans. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. Rockford returns home to kick off a mini two-game homestand.  Rochester makes its first and only visit to the MetroCentre on Friday.  The meeting is the second and final of the regular season between the clubs.

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