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Manchester's Thomas Hickey (37) talks with teammate Andrew Campbell as stuffed animals are cleaned up after being tossed onto the ice by fans after Hickey scored the first Monarchs goal of the game in the third period vs. the Springfield Falcons at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester on Sunday afternoon. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

Children benefit from Monarchs' Teddy Bear Toss

MANCHESTER - Thanks to fans of the Manchester Monarchs, children at 10 early education sites will receive bears and other stuffed animals during visits this week by Manchester Police Officer Paul Rondeau.

Each year, the Manchester Monarchs provide the Manchester Police Department with a collection of stuffed animals tossed onto the ice right after the Monarchs score their first goal during a designated home game.

During Sunday's game, more than 1,000 stuffed animals were tossed and collected at the 2012 Manchester Monarchs Teddy Bear Toss.

The tossed animals, which include many other creatures as well as bears, give Rondeau a great opportunity to introduce himself and the Manchester Police Department to the city's youngest residents.

The visits give the children a chance to meet "Officer Friendly," ask him questions and talk about ways to keep safe.