Calgary Hitmen fans caused a lengthy delay at the Saddledome on Saturday afternoon.
For the best of reasons. Teddy Bear Toss reasons.
Fans hurled thousands of teddy bears to the ice at the Saddledome after Cael Zimmerman scored at 6:53 of the second period, triggering the launch in what has become one of Calgary’s best annual hockey traditions.
“It’s something special,” Zimmerman told HitmenTV moments after scoring the goal. “It’s something you’ll remember forever. Knowing where these are going it’s amazing.”
🧸 TOTAL TEDDY TAKEOVER IN CALGARY!!! 🧸
— The WHL (@TheWHL) December 4, 2021
The thousands of bears, and various other stuffed animals, will eventually benefit over 50 local charities this holiday season, including the Alberta Children’s Hospital, the Calgary Food Bank, and the Siksika Nation.
— Nathan (@Hanoten) December 4, 2021
— Shane (@calgaryrants) December 4, 2021
— Nick Blakeney (@CameraGuyNick) December 4, 2021
Fans prematurely tossed roughly 300 teddies after Hitmen defenceman Tyson Galloway hit the post midway through the first period.
— Bruce Ritchie (@britchiecalgary) December 4, 2021
The Teddy Bear Toss was not held in 2020 due to COVID complications and the delayed start of the Western Hockey League season.
Instead, the Hitmen held a three-day Teddy Bear Lane in which fans were invited to cruise along the Christmas-decorated and lighted Fifth Street SE traffic loop entrance to the Saddledome to hand off bears to one of Santa’s elves to toss into an inflatable outdoor rink. It netted 18,063 stuffed toys for local charities.
Awesome 😎 pic.twitter.com/LoeH9WNFRm
— Alex Mora (@michayen) December 4, 2021
A franchise record 29,635 teddies were collected in 2018, and over 400,000 bears have been collected since 1995. The Hitmen briefly held the world record for teddy bears tossed at a hockey game when 28,815 teddies flew over the glass in 2015.
The Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League hold the current world record at 45,650, established in 2019.
— Calgary Hitmen (@WHLHitmen) December 4, 2021