You may be asking yourself, “What’s a Teddy Bear Toss?” And, perhaps more importantly, what does it have to do with hockey?
In an annual event to benefit charity, fans of the Hershey Bears in Hershey, Pennsylvania tossed 45,650 stuffed animals onto the ice at the Giant Center.
Game spectators chuck stuffed animals onto the ice after the home team scores its first goal. With the game’s attendance announced at 10,014, the average number of stuffed animals donated per person was about 4.5.
Teddy Bear Toss Tradition for Charities
Some 40 different charities and organizations will benefit from the haul. They include: churches, food banks, lions clubs, schools, the Children’s Miracle Network, and the American Cancer Society.
A season ticket holder, Jeff Sweigart on behalf of his family’s foundation, adds to the haul for charities by donating one dollar for every bear tossed. Community Aid, an event sponsor with ABC27, donates another 25 cents to the Children’s Miracle Network In Hershey for every stuffed animal that makes it way to the ice. In combination, the dollar total donated to charities should exceed $57,000.
World Record Setting Teddy Bear Toss
The Washington Capitals’ American Hockey League affiliate Hershey Bears set the record for a Teddy Bear Toss surpassing by some 10,000 the record they held from the previous year. Other hockey teams have held similar events.
Teddy Toss Video
How It Works
Here’s how it works. Fans of the team bring in their teddy bears. Some have bags of over 200 per family, while others choose to bring oversized stuffed bears. When Christian Djoos scored the Bears first goal, fans start tossing the bears over the glass and onto the ice. Bigger stuffed animals are passed down to the front for easier tossing.
A big pile is created on the ice and some of the players take the opportunity to skate and jump onto the cushion collection of stuffed animals. Players and team officials help collect the bears so that play can continue on. In this case, it took 45 minutes to clear the ice.
And, what about that hockey game? Well the Hershey Bears, perhaps boosted by the support of stuffed bears, beat the Hartford Wolf Pack by a score of 4-3. But, you have to think that the lasting memory for fans is watching those stuffed animals rain down on the ice. What a great tradition!
— Mike O’Halloran
Mike is the founder and editor of Sports Feel Good Stories.
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