There are plenty of stuffed animal drives throughout the country, but there not be a better one than this. The Calgary Hitman of the Western Hockey League, sponsors an annual act that’s been part of their history for the past 18 seasons. It’s called the Teddy Bear Toss.
Back in December, hosting the Kootenay Ice, the Hitmen’s first goal would yield a shower of teddy bears like it did every year. But every year it always seems to come as a surprise to the players.
When the first goal of the game was scored by Hitmen winger Pavlo Padakin, the crowd went nuts, throwing a total of 21,453 stuffed bears onto the ice. Rather than just shrills and cheers, the fans started rifling their plush friends that encased the players in rainbows of soft colors.
Padakin didn’t expect the experience, which was his first, to be so overwhelming. As quoted in the Calgary Herald, Padakin said “I didn’t think it was like this…..not emotional.”
With 16,912 fans in attendance and over 21,000 stuffed bears coloring the ice, you can only imagine the excitement from all who were there to see. Hitmen player Greg Chase reflected on the atmosphere by stating, “The nerves are flying at the start of the game — everyone wants to score that goal. We wanted to score in front of our fans and let those teddy bears come down.” (Calgary Herald).
Aside from the thrill of tossing a teddy onto the ice, imagine how the recipients felt? The Teddy Bear Toss has been a charity mission to bring smiles to those staying at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Since the tradition began 18 years ago, the Hitmen team has donated an astounding 213,000 bears.
You’ll find there to be quite a few stuffed animal drives across the country, but this one is certainly unique. For minor league teams, this idea is great for drawing and building a community of fans. But furthermore, it’s not only a great marketing tool, it benefits children too. If your organization wants to sponsor an event to brighten someone else’s day, browse through our many collections of cuddly stuffed animals today.