Let the fur fly: Calgary Hitmen win 24th annual Teddy Bear Toss
The Calgary Hitmen defeated the Kamloops Blazers with a score of 6-3 on December 9th for the 24th annual Brick Teddy Bear Toss. The yearly event encourages fans to bring stuffed animals – that will be donated to charity – to throw on the ice after the first Hitmen goal.
The flurry of bears came 4:18 into the first period, as Hitmen winger Kaden Elder received a pass from Jake Kryski, and beat Blazers goalie Dylan Garand on the breakaway to set off the celebration.
“The atmosphere in the rink was crazy, so many fans supporting us, and so many teddy bears, it was definitely an adrenaline rush,” Elder said after the game.
Elder’s goal set off a flurry of 29,635 stuffed animals to the ice, breaking the franchise record of 28,815 set in 2015. The bears will go to different charities throughout Calgary, including the Alberta Children’s Hospital, where the Hitmen will visit the day after the game.
“You can’t help but be excited when the place is full. Everyone is here to celebrate, be part of it. It amps up the electricity in the building, and I thought our guys couldn’t have gotten off to a better start than the way they did, with the early goal,” Hitmen coach Steve Hamilton said after the game.
The win for the Hitmen came on the back of a five goal second period, including two big goals from Hitmen defenceman Egor Zamula. The Hitmen struck five times in just under ten minutes, ending Garand’s night early after just over half the game.
The Hitmen have been on a run as of late, as the victory over Kamloops was their fourth consecutive win, pushing them to just two points outside the last wild card spot in the WHL’s Eastern Conference.
The Hitmen hit the ice next on Friday, Dec. 14th when they face Kelowna, when they hope to extend their winning streak to five games.
Photos by Sam Phelps
Published December 13, 2018