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02/21/2013 - 10:03am

Paul Dawson has earned the reputation as a hard-nosed defender with his ability to disrupt the game of an opposing forward with his stick and his fists. So when he walked into the Build-A-Bear Workshop® in Eastview Mall, it was probably the last place you would expect to see the 6-foot-5 Rochester Knighthawks defenseman. (Pictured: Dan Dawson)

Bid on bears made by your favorite Knighthawks, click here.

Dawson, who was acquired by the Knighthawks in December, was participating in team’s Annual Teddy Bear Auction to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer Association. It was a new experience for the seven-year pro, but something he put some a lot of thought into before creating his first bear.

“It was awesome,” he said about his black bear named Jed. “I picked a police uniform because of my father, Joe. I just hope someone enjoys him.”

Dawson honored his father, who is a 38-year veteran of the Toronto police force. His brother, Dan, created a Harley Davidson® monkey on his visit to Eastview Mall. The animals are just two of 21 that are currently taking bids on Trips to Build-A-Bear Workshop® have become a staple for the defending NLL Champions, dating back to the 2008 season.

"Every year, our players look forward to building bears to benefit CURE Childhood Cancer Association," said Knighthawks President Lewis Staats. "It has become a Knighthawks' tradition as we continue to support CURE's mission of fighting childhood cancer in Rochester."

Founded in 1976, CURE is focused on meeting the emotional, social, financial, and educational needs of families with children who have been diagnosed with cancer and chronic blood disorders. CURE has been a proud sponsor of the Knighthawks since the 2002 season. The Knighthawks have in turn raised nearly $30,000 for CURE.

“For the past six years the Knighthawks organization has been supporting CURE and the families that we serve through the bear auction. The enthusiasm and passion that they bring to helping these families whose children are diagnosed with cancer is similar to that which they bring to the game,” said CURE Executive Director Brian Wirth. “Our kids love meeting the players and all of us at CURE enjoy working with the team on this very important fundraiser.”

The Teddy Bear Auction, presented by, will end on Saturday, February 23rd at 9:00 p.m. Fans at the game on February 23rd can also place bids at the Go Buy Rochester booth. This season, the auction includes a Captain America bear signed by three-time NASCAR Champion Tony Stewart and a special bear created by WBEE host Jeremy Newman.

Fans can bid on bears made by newcomers Dan and Paul Dawson, Casey Powell, Joel McCready and Angus Goodleaf. Returning Knighthawks like Cody Jamieson, Sid Smith, Craig Point, Cory Vitarelli, Mike Accursi, Matt Vinc and Joe Walters are also sure to attract some attention from diehard fans. The animals include a brown dog named “Air Dogger” made by Vitarelli and a panda in a ballet dress crafted by Knighthawks goalie Matt Vinc. Burton also got creative and made a bear cowboy named Kid Rock. The tie-dye bear comes with cowboy hat and boots, and a fur coat.

“I’ve been a part of the Build-A-Bear® project with the Knighthawks since I joined the team,” said Burton, who has been with the K-Hawks since 2011. “It's an amazing experience being able to give back, and build a bear that's a little silly. The real thanks goes to the fans that purchase the bears. It's great to see the support.”

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