Teddy bear toss – the popular charity events in hockey – are coming back for another season. Some of the teams are even already holding their events.
But the real teddy bear toss season will kick off later this month and into December. For most teams the goal is to gather their donations in time for Christmas.
Even so, usually the teddy bear toss games continue well into January, as well. During the course of these games, people donate hundreds of thousands of stuffed animals in total.
Teams of all sizes join in. Some smaller teams manage to gather a few hundred plushies for charity. Others, like the Calgary Hitmen, aim for big records with more than 20 000 and even 30 000 stuffed animals donated over a single game.
Each team then chooses charity organizations to give the donated stuffed animals to. Many of the toys then go to kids in need in time for the holidays. Other plushies go to hospitals and emergency responder teams which also give them to kids in need throughout the year.
Little is known about how the teddy bear toss came about. What we do know is that hockey teams hold it once a year. The event is kicked off then the home team scores their first goal of the game. Then the crowd throws the stuffed animals they brought (new and preferably wrapped in transparent plastic) onto the ice. The teams then clean up the ice for a few minutes and it’s a jolly time.
Over the years the popularity of the teddy bear toss has continued to grow. It has even spilled over to other sports, as well. Usually this happens in countries where hockey is not that big. That doesn’t matter though. What matters is people coming together and helping out. Even something as small as a stuffed animal can make a difference for someone in need. So, if you hear about a teddy bear toss game in your area, go and take part, even if you’re not a particularly big fan of the said sport.