The best promotion in hockey—maybe in sports—is back for the holiday season, and nobody does the Teddy Bear Toss quite like the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. With the first goal Sunday by Vladislav Yeryomenko, Calgary fans littered the ice with 24,605 stuffed animals, to be donated to 60 local agencies and given to deserving children.
The game was stopped for 35 minutes to collect all the stuffed animals, an extra intermission that nobody minded.
The Teddy Bear Toss was invented in 1993 by the Kamloops Blazers, but it’s the Hitmen who have made it their own. The Hitmen began doing it in 1995, and in the 23 seasons since, fans have thrown 347,948 bears. Calgary holds the world record with 28,815 bears in 2015, a pretty impressive number considering the building only holds 19,000.
The tradition extends across minor league hockey, and ‘tis the season. Here’s the AHL’s Hershey Bears last week, with 25,017 animals raining down:
Here’s the Spokane Chiefs:
The Portland Winterhawks:
The Colorado Eagles:
The Indy Fuel:
Keep those Bears flying.