Teddy bear toss
The teddy bear toss is a popular Christmas season promotion most common at ice hockey games. Fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears or other stuffed toys to the game, and to throw them onto the ice when the home team scores its first goal. The toys are gathered up to be donated as presents to hospitals and charities. In many cases, the players themselves personally donate some of the bears to children at area hospitals. The Hershey Bears claim a world record of 34,798 stuffed toys in a single game.
The concept originated with the Kamloops Blazers in 1993, thanks to marketing director Don Larson. The first recorded teddy bear toss occurred on December 5, 1993, when a goal by Brad Lukowich prompted fans to throw over 2,400 bears onto the ice. The tradition spread quickly through the Canadian Hockey League, and around the world; excluding the National Hockey League, which discourages anything thrown on the ice.
The Calgary Hitmen set a then record of 28,815 stuffed toys in a single game, on December 6, 2015, with a sell-out crowd at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The annual event has collected almost 350,000 bears in Calgary as of early December 2018.
On December 3, 2017, the Hershey Bears collected 25,017 stuffed animals. In the following season, Hershey beat the previous mark by collecting 34,798 stuffed animals on December 2, 2018. The event also inspired philanthropists in Hershey to pledge cash donations per toy collected.
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