Not only are the holidays coming up but so are the World Junior Hockey Championships. However, this blog isn’t about that. It is about another annual tradition in hockey.

The Teddy Bear Toss.

Teams could call it many different things, but it is the same promotion wherever you go. When the home team scores the first goal of that game the teddy bears and stuffed animals come flying out of the stands onto the ice.

For those that have not witnessed it, it is one of the most amazing sights to see. Fans coming together to share the holiday spirit, tossing those stuffed animals. All those stuffed animals are collected and given to local charities to hand out to children that are less fortunate in the team’s community. The smiles those children will have, seeing under the tree a new stuffed animal for them is priceless.

Some teams have already had their toy toss while others have them scheduled to happen soon. One of the ones that always gets a lot of attention is the Calgary Hitmen’s Teddy Bear Toss which will happen on Sunday. Their ice gets littered with stuffed animals, so much so that you can bear-ly (pun intended) find a piece of ice visible from high in the stands.

The Hitmen, who play in the Wester Hockey League, holds the record for the most bears tossed onto the ice during the game with 28,815 collected.

Yesterday the Hershey Bears, of the American Hockey League, held their Teddy Bear Toss.

Hershey was down 2-0 to their rivals, the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins, following two periods but 13:27 into the second period Liam O’Brien became a hero to many, scoring the goal that unleashed the animals.

Chocolate City went above and beyond, setting a new team record, tossing just over 25000 stuffed animals of various sizes onto the ice following O’Brien’s fifth goal of the season. That is a staggering number from the 9,403 people in attendance at the game, but it just shows that hockey fans will come together to help children.

While the delay in cleaning up the ice is never ideal for either team playing in the game, many of the players get into. I have seen some dive into a pile of animals, some helping to collect them and even celebrate by lifting them a bunch of them over their head.

If you live close to a Junior A, CHL, low-minor league pro team or an AHL rink, don’t be a Grinch, find out when they are having their teddy bear toss and join in on the festivities while also checking out the amazing scene in person.