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      Close Up With The Crunch-Players build bears for Teddy Bear toss

      Syracuse Crunch players Matt Taormina, Luke Witkowski and Cedrick Desjardins descended upon the Build-A-Bear workshop at Destiny USA this week, constructing teddy bears for the 'Tired Teddy Toss' at the War Memorial on December 14th.

      As you can see from last season, teddy bears flying through the air in the War Memorial is a sight to see, but so is seeing professional athletes jump up and down with a little cotton heart in their hands.

      "Being a kid's a fun experience, seeing little kids and the bears just make them happy, for us it's coming back to our young days ya know," Crunch goaltender Cedrick Desjardins says.

      Accompanied by five kids from the Salvation Army's after school program, the Crunch players helped stuff, dress and even lend a voice to the teddy bears. The players were fascinated by the sounds that could be inserted into the bears, trying out several before making their final decision.

      "The sounds were really [fun]," Desjardins says. "There's a couple of the funny ones, 'Call me maybe' and stuff, and we made a couple funny ones."

      Witkowski decided he'd make something unique by inserting a "meow" sound into a dog-themed bear. When asked why he did it, he really wasn't sure.

      "I don't know, I haven't seen a catdog," he says. "So, I thought I'd make a catdog."

      Witkowksi told one of the kids about the television show called "Catdog", which he said was probably before their time. He's hoping a lucky child will get his special catdog when the thrown bears when they are donated to The Salvation Army.

      All of the kids who made bears with the Crunch got to go home with them, but thousands of kids will also receive teddy bears after the Tired Teddy Toss next Saturday.

      Fans are encouraged to bring new and gently used stuffed animals to the game against the Rochester Americans on December 14th and throw them on the ice after the first Crunch goal. They can also bring those new and gently-used animals to the Crunch office leading up to the game. All the bears will be collected and refurbished by Stanley Steemer, and then donated to The Salvation Army.