The 9th annual Teddy Bear Toss in memory of Joni Arnett takes place this Friday, March 24 at the El Paso Rhinos hockey game at 7:30 p.m.  Joni, who was a dear friend of mine, tragically lost her life nearly 10 years ago.  She was a well respected member of the community and endured tremendous success which included being a model and UTEP professor.

In honor of her memory, Joni’s parents established the annual Teddy Bear Toss which has been an overwhelming success the past 8 years. Rhinos fans are asked to bring a teddy bear to Friday night’s game at the Hospital at Providence Events Center.

When the Rhinos score their first goal of the contest, fans will throw their teddy bears on the ice.  The teddy bears will be collected by El Paso Rhinos officials and then the El Paso Police Department and El Paso Fire station will donate them to children in crises.   Fans are encouraged to arrive early to get their tickets and enjoy an evening of teddy bear tossing, hockey and most importantly, celebrating the life of a truly beautiful person, all while helping children in need.

7th annual Teddy Bear Toss. (Photo by Brandon Cohn)

I encourage everyone to attend this wonderful event.  I was fortunate to have known Joni  for years and can tell you that she was the type of person who made a difference in each and every person’s life that she came across.  This special event ensures that Joni will live on in our memories forever, and she certainly deserves this annual heart filled tribute.