The Calgary Hitmen, a Western Hockey League team, were hosting a game against their local rivals the Medicine Hat Tigers. This isn’t your typical hockey game though. On December 4, 2011, it was the 17th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss Game!
How does it work? “Fans are encouraged to bring a small or medium sized stuffed toy to the game and toss it on the ice when the Hitmen score their first goal”. 50 different charities including: Salvation Army, Calgary Womens Emergency Shelter, Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie and the Alberta Children’s Hospital are recipients of the stuffed toys.
Pretty awesome idea right? To get into the Christmas and giving spirit, the Hitmen players wear a jersey that is slightly altered. Last year, the Hitmen wore a Christmas-red as opposed to their traditional red. This year, the players had snow on their numbers and their “hitman” wearing a Christmas hat!
Fans were eager to throw their teddy bears onto the ice as the first period passed. With two minutes left in the second period, Calder Brooks (in the picture above, on the right) gave the fans permission to toss the teddies.
The 2011 Teddy Bear Toss saw 25,003 teddies on the ice that night. Unfortunately for the Hitmen, they fell 2-1 to the Tigers. For the fans, they were able to have fun throwing their stuffed toys on the ice for a great cause. The players will go on to donate all the stuffed animals to the 50 different charities.
The Teddy Bear Toss isn’t exclusive to the Calgary Hitmen. Other teams around the league such as the Vancouver Giants and Portland Winterhawks have adopted the Teddy Bear Toss. If your local team hosts a Teddy Bear Toss, I recommend you attend the event! It’s a great cause and great fun!