by Lisa McRitchie on 12/06/11 at 02:30 AM ET
This Sunday was the annual Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss and although I was not able to attend, I wanted to take a look at the event. The Teddy Bear toss is exactly what it sounds like; a toy drive for the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and it is quite successful. Last year, fans threw 23, 096 stuffed toys onto the ice following the Hitmen’s first goal of the night. This year, the 17th running, that total was 25, 303.
The Hitmen will wear their new Reebok Teddy Bear Toss jersey featuring a Christmas red colour with the traditional Hitmen Logo. Features include a Santa hat on the front logo and snow banks on top of all numbers. There is also a Teddy Bear patch on one shoulder and a Petro-Canada Logo on the other.
These unique jerseys are being sold in an online auction which started today, click the image below, with net proceed to support the CBC Suncor Energy Food Bank Drive.
It was Calder Brooks of the Hitmen who’s goal with two minutes left in the second period unleashed the approximately 20 minute game delay as all of the toys were tossed to the ice, then collected and bagged.
The home town didn’t end up winning this game. Instead, it went to Oilers’ prospect Tyler Bunz and the Medicine Hat Tigers. Bunz was outstanding, and gave hockey fans a sneak peak at the World Juniors. The more time passes, the more confident I am that we will see Bunz in a Team Canada jersey representing his country between the pipes.
For those hockey fans in Edmonton, the Oil Kings’ Teddy Bear toss will be December 17th, a game against the Calgary Hitmen at 7pm MST. All toys collected will be donated to Santa’s Anonymous. Last year, the Oil Kings collected 4,200. That number is great, but Santa’s Anonymous would love for Edmonton to beat Calgary in this event.
This year, Oil Kings ticket prices have been reduced by 30% and are an excellent and affordable fun, family night out. Even better, you don’t need to bring children to enjoy the game. Oil King games can be enjoyed by one and all, old and young and everywhere in between.
Edmonton Oilers Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall are not far removed from their CHL and Teddy Bear tosses of their time in junior, and last year reminisced about what it was like.
The modern Oil Kings have not been around for as long as Calgary, and so obviously have not seen the same amount of success. But, the team is getting better every year and has advanced beyond its early expansion days. Slowly the Oil Kings are garnering more fans and hopefully this will start to build a little quicker as excitement in hockey and Edmonton teams increases once again.
No matter what, the annual Teddy Bear toss is truly a sight to see and something that I hope continues in its various communities for a very long time.
EDIT: Thanks to SYF for finding me video from the Los Vegas Wrangler’s 2011 Teddy Bear toss. The toys begin flying at approximately 1:15. I love the giant Batman and find it interesting that the toys are not tied up in plastic bags. The bags help to keep the toys clean and dry until they can be donated. Still, it’s great to see such a sense of giving and community.
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Lisa McRitchie is a fairly new writer, online at least, but makes up for inexperience with passion for the game of hockey and memories of Mrs. Leskiw’s English AP class; who knew they would pay off one day.
Oil Patch focuses on the Edmonton Oilers, the Edmonton Oil Kings, The Oklahoma City Barons and Team Canada Hockey with game coverage, news updates, speculation and interviews.
Although the Oilers have had a difficult past decade… or three, here at Oil Patch, the future looks bright.
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