Teddy bear toss
A teddy bear toss is a popular Christmas season promotion at many minor and junior hockey arenas throughout North America. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears to the game, and to throw them onto the ice when the home team scores its first goal. The toys are then gathered up to be donated as Christmas presents to hospitals and charities. In many cases, the players themselves personally donate some of the bears to children at area hospitals. The Kamloops Blazers were the first team to start the tradition in the 1993–94 season.
The 7,485 fans and supporters of the Portland Winter Hawks were the first to break the WHL and CHL Teddy Bear Toss record in the 2006–07 season with an on-ice donation of 14,361 stuffed animals Saturday, November 25, 2006. The teddy bears rained down from the stands when Kyle Bailey broke a scoreless tie exactly one minute into the overtime period. This record was eventually broken by the fans of the Calgary Hitmen less than a month later. On December 10, when Ryan White scored a short-handed goal 14 minutes into the first period of their game against the Prince George Cougars. 15,540 teddy bears were thrown onto the ice by the 16,380 fans in attendance.
On November 24, 2007, the Portland Winterhawks briefly reclaimed the record with 20,372 stuffed animals coming from the 6,343 fans at the Memorial Coliseum on the 10th Annual Teddy Bear Toss Night. However, fans had failed to realize that the goal that initiated the toss had been disallowed. The record quickly fell again, as six nights later, fans of the Lethbridge Hurricanes set a new mark of 22,736 bears. The Hitmen once again reclaimed their record on December 2, 2007, as 26,919 bears hit the ice when Ian Duval scored against the Cougars. The Hitmen have since increased that record by collecting 28,815 bears during their 2015 Teddy Bear Toss game.
Melbourne Australia had its first known Teddy Bear Toss on June 28, 2014 at the Medibank Ice house. The Canada Club of Victoria and the Melbourne Ice Hockey club organized the event as part of the Canada Day Classic to celebrate Canada Day in Australia. Although the event was not on Canada Day it is a time for expat Canadians to celebrate all things Canadian. The Charity for the day was Very Special Kids who received a cash donation as well as over 600 Teddy Bears. The Canada Club of Victoria organizes the event each year.
On December 6, 2015, the Calgary Hitmen once again set the record for bears thrown during a game when 28,815 stuffed animals hit the ice following Jordy Stallard’s second period goal against the Swift Current Broncos in their 2–1 shootout victory. This game was also the first complete sellout of the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary Hitmen history (19,289 fans), as the third deck of the building is usually not open to fans during Hitmen games.
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- Parker, Lisa MacGregor and Brendan. "Hitmen fans break records in annual Teddy Bear Toss". Global News. Retrieved 2016-12-07.
- "Stallard goal makes teddy confetti, Hitmen down Broncos". hitmenhockey.com. Retrieved 2015-12-07.