Calgary Hitmen defenseman Keegan Kanzig celebrates as Teddy Bear Toss goal scorer Jordy Stallard leaps into a pile of stuffed toys (via Calgary Hitmen)
The Calgary Hitmen and their fans set a world record Sunday. After Jordy Stallard scored for Calgary Sunday, fans at the Scotiabank Saddledome threw nearly 29,000 stuffed toys on the ice as part of the Hitmen’s 21st annual Teddy Bear Toss. The toys will go to 50 local groups, including food banks and the Salvation Army.
It’d be hard for a major junior team to compete on any level with their professional counterparts, but there’s one area where the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen have become the undisputed best in the world: the Teddy Bear Toss.
The Hitmen were already the world-record holders when it came to the Teddy Bear Toss, having set the mark in 2007 when fans at the Saddledome threw 26,619 stuffed toys onto the ice following an Ian Duval goal, but they took it to new heights Sunday.
Hitmen center Jordy Stallard notched Calgary’s first goal less than three minutes into the second period, and the sellout crowd of 19,289 on hand for the Hitmen’s 21st annual Teddy Bear Toss proceeded to smash the previous world record by hurling 28,815 stuffed toys onto the ice. Check it out:
“It felt incredible to get it,” Stallard told HitmenHockey.com’s Jason Pirie. “I would have been happy just to win the game, but to get the goal just made it that much better. The fans were absolutely outstanding, and to top it off it’s all for a great cause so it was just a great night all around.”
According to Pirie, Stallard also has himself a new nickname following his goal: teammates are calling him ‘Teddy.’ Seems fitting.
Cleaning up the toys took nearly two periods worth of work — all told, it was 37 minutes before the two teams were playing again. Stallard’s goal was the game-tying tally in a contest that needed a shootout to find a winner. In the shootout, Hitmen defenseman Jake Bean buried the winner.
“(The Teddy Bear Toss is) a great opportunity as players to give back,” Bean told Pirie. “It really puts everything into perspective and shows us that hockey is just a game. There are a lot bigger problems in the world, but if we can help in whatever way we can then we’re more than happy to do that.”
The stuffed toys, and there are a lot of them, will be distributed to “50 local agencies, including the Calgary Food Bank, Stephen’s Backpacks, the Salvation Army and Siksika Children’s Services.” The Hitmen also put their special Christmas-themed jerseys up for auction Monday, with proceeds helping CBC Calgary Suncor Food Bank Drive.
Sunday’s Teddy Bear Toss total pushed the Hitmen’s donation to over 300,000 stuffed toys in the 21-year history of the game.
(Video via Calgary Hitmen)