Once again, Southern Alberta hockey fans outdid themselves during the Calgary Hitmen's annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
Playing at the Scotiabank Saddledome gives the Hitmen a big-arena advantage, which they have used to their full advantage since the birth of the Teddy Bear Toss custom in the 1990s. The origin story is unclear, with some attributing the invention to fans of either the Kamloops Blazers or Portland Winterhawks. The Ontario Hockey League's Kitchener Rangers have also held one for 19 seasons, the same span as Calgary.
It's pretty straightforward: fans throw stuffed animals on the ice after the home team's first goal of the game, which the team then collects and distributes to various charities. On Sunday, the crowd of 17,199 in Calgary, many of whom brought multiple stuffed toys, had to hold on through a scoreless opening period. At the 3:42 mark of the second, forward Pavel Padakin did the honours for the second year in a row. That is an unofficial Western Hockey League record.
If you watch closely, Padakin did a snow angel as the stuffed toys rained down. Livin' the dream.
More than 50 charities in the Calgary area have partnered in this year's 19th annual toss, with the official count coming in at 25,921. That would top 2012's count, which was in the 25,000 range.Read More »from Calgary Hitmen fans throw nearly 26,000 stuffed toys on ice at Teddy Bear Toss game (VIDEO)