Watch 21,000 Teddy Bears Hit the Ice at a Holiday Hockey Event
There are all sorts of different traditions involving fans throwing things on the ice during hockey games. While most of them involve dead squid or fish, the Calgary Hitman have a much more cuddly tradition.
Once a year, for the past nearly two decades, the WHL franchise has fans throw teddy bears on the ice when the team scores their first goal. The stuffed animals are then given to needy children.
This year it was first year player Paylo Padakin whose goal triggered the teddy bear blizzard.
“I didn’t think it was like this … not emotional,” The Ukrainian said about being covered in teddy bears. ‘I thought maybe a couple bears, but when they started to fall down, I said, ‘Oh my god, what do I need to do?’ I couldn’t skate to the bench because all the ice was (covered) in bears.”
“Obviously, it’s a cool atmosphere to play in,” added Hitman Greg Chase, who scored the triggering goal last year. “The nerves are flying at the start of the game — everyone wants to score that goal. We wanted to score in front of our fans and let those teddy bears come down.”
This year 16,912 fans contributed 21,534 bears. Over 200,000 have been donated during the history of the event.