Watch 25,214 stuffed animals hit the ice for Calgary Hitmen's Teddy Bear Toss goal (VIDEO)

Buzzing The Net
Calgary's Travis Sanheim (32) and Micheal Zipp (4) help with the Teddy Bear Toss clean-up on Sunday (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)
Calgary's Travis Sanheim (32) and Micheal Zipp (4) help with the Teddy Bear Toss clean-up on Sunday (Larry MacDougal, The Canadian Press)

Of all the ways that Calgary and Edmonton try to one-up and outdo each other, the Teddy Bear Toss games that Alberta's two junior hockey teams hold each December is the most wonderful of all.

The Memorial Cup currently resides in Edmonton and the Oil Kings collected nearly 11,500 stuffed animals during their Teddy Bear night on Saturday at Rexall Place. However, the Hitmen have always set the bar for the Teddy Bear Toss, which they have held since their maiden Western Hockey League season in 1995. It's since become ubiquitous throughout junior hockey. On Sunday, against the Moose Jaw Warriors — who have been the visiting team for several of these games in recent weeks — the Hitmen delivered. Officially, 25,214 stuffed critters hit ice after Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Radel Fazleev got the icebreaker in the second minute of the game (incidentally, Edmonton got its goal in the first minute off their game). The bears are collected and distributed to charities across Calgary and southern Alberta.

What is it with Hitmen import players always getting the Teddy tally? Pavel Padakin, a Ukrainian forward, did the deed the past two seasons before being succeeded by Fazleev, an 18-year-old from Kazan, Russia.


Counting Sunday's count, nearly 300,000 stuffies have been collected at Hitmen games over the past two decades. That's enough to fill the Saddledome more than a dozen times over. By the way, the Saddledome is pretty big.

Meantime, Edmonton did itself proud on Saturday.

Such scenery is great testament to the charitable and generous nature of hockey fans, particularly of junior puck, or so one would like to think. Any leftover holiday cheer is probably due to Warriors play-by-play broadcaster James Gallo, who's had to fill time solo during the clean-ups several times in the past two weeks.  

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

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