Teddy Bear toss: Hershey Bears throw 52,341 toys on rink

2022-07-15 19:21:39 By : Ms. Diana Li

On January 22, Pennsylvanian ice hockey team Hershey Bears held their annual "Teddy Bear Toss" game at the Giant Center. As forward player Axel Jonsson-Fjällby scored the match's first goal against the Hartford Wolf Pack, the soft toys came rushing in on the rink.

The Hershey Bears claimed to have broken their previous world record by collecting 52,341 soft toys for donation. The collected soft animals and plushies will be donated to around 25 local charity organizations, per their press release.

According to the team's claims, they have collected around 322,199 plush toys over 21 years and 20 such events. Thousands of soft toys on the ice rink caused the game to be delayed by 30-minutes. The Hershey Bears ended the game with a 5-0 win against the Wolf Packs.

While the Hershey Bears may hold the current world record for soft toys collection, the tradition was reportedly started 29 years ago in 1993 by Canadian junior ice hockey team Kamloops Blazers. The concept has been credited to the team's marketing director, Don Larson. However, another Canadian team, the Regina Pats, claimed that the tradition originated from them.

Since then, the tradition has been accepted worldwide in several ice hockey games, barring the US-Canadian National Hockey League. Teddy Bear Toss was also organized by the Australian ice hockey team, the Melbourne Ice, in 2014. Three years later, Swedish team Luleå HF also followed the tradition. In the UK, multiple teams help collect soft toys before Christmas for donation.

As per Teddy Bear Toss tradition, the announcer prompts the audience to throw soft toys (which primarily includes teddy bears and other animal plushies) on the ice rink after the first goal of the game is scored by either team. The toys are then collected and then donated to various charitable organizations and medical facilities focused on child care.

The Hershey Bears have pioneered the event since its inception, and the team has held multiple world records. On Saturday's game, the Bears broke their previous 2019 record of 45,650 plush toys being collected. Prior to that, they also held the world record for the collection of soft toys during the game.

In recent years, the tradition has spread beyond ice hockey to different sports. In 2014, the Italian basketball "LBA" league started the Teddy Bear Toss, and five years later, it also reached the Australian pro-football league with the Newcastle Jets team adopting it.

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