By: Jon Sorensen
Hershey, Pennsylvania – It’s one of the greatest traditions in all of AHL hockey. The Hershey Bears annual Teddy Bear Toss game. It’s rumored the players have a bet and/or pool of money for the one who pots the toy tossing tally, but regardless, it’s a tremendous honor for any player to score the frenzy-igniting goal.
This year’s event was held on Sunday against the Bridgeport Islanders. With a 2-0 shutout at the hands of the Bridgeport Islanders, the Bears faced something they hadn’t before: no player claiming the honors of scoring the Teddy Bear goal.
As a result fans were instructed to postpone the tossing of the donated plush animals until after the game, to which the crowd at Giant Center responded with a heavy chorus of boos and tossed their donated plush animals with five seconds remaining in regulation.
The Bears contacted the league office and the final five seconds of the game were cancelled, ending the contest.
The Bears have conducted the much-anticipated event since 2001, collecting over 300,000 stuffed bears as part of the club’s Hershey Bears Cares initiative, which “showcases the philanthropic activities and volunteer efforts of Bears players and staff members throughout the community, teddy bears and stuffed animals are collected and donated to more than 25 local organizations including Dauphin County Children and Youth, Cocoa Packs, Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg, Palmyra Lions Club, and Autism Society Greater Harrisburg Area.”
Additionally, Hershey set a new world record last season with the 20th anniversary toss. accumulating 52,341 bears; if the Chocolate and White surpass that total, the Sweigart Family donation will send a donation to the Children’s Miracle Network of $50,000.
The toss has never advanced to the third period, with goals being scored five times in the second period, and the rest in the first. This game marks the first in the history of the event that the Bears have failed to score.
Did anyone get pictures of my friends and I carrying down the 93 inch bear? I saw lots of cameras pointing at us. Would love to see a video as well!
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