The holidays are approaching, which means that teddy bear tosses are unfolding at arenas everywhere.
A promotional staple across hockey, teddy bear tosses allow fans to hurl teddy bears onto the ice, where they are then gathered and donated to various charities. Select teams across the hockey ranks have already conducted teddy bear tosses, while others are in the works. Some of those events will be highlighted in latest edition of Promotions Watch.
Several teams have already executed a teddy bear toss with success. The South Carolina Stingrays (ECHL) conducted the event on December 9, and it resulted in a good deal of fanfare.
According to their own estimates, the Stingrays received 6,348 teddy bears as a result of the event at North Charleston Coliseum. That was more than double the 3,077 stuffed animals the Sting Rays received in 2016. It also managed to create quite a sight at the arena, as evidenced by this video:
On December 10, the Florida Everblades (ECHL) donned ugly Christmas sweater jerseys while they hosted their teddy bear toss at Germain Arena. With a crowd of 7,200 on hand, the Everblades received more than 7,000 bears, which were hurled onto the ice after the team’s first goal of the evening. On that same night, the Colorado Eagles (ECHL) found similar success, receiving close to 7,000 teddy bears at the Budweiser Events Center.
The Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL) have made the teddy bear toss into one of their strongest annual promotions, and this year’s edition proved to be a rousing success. For their 10th annual teddy bear toss, which was also the first at the new Rogers Place, the Oil Kings received 13,942 bears, setting a new franchise record. Also included in the promotion, which took place on December 10, were special teddy bear jerseys worn by the team (shown above) and auctioned for charity.
On December 10, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL) set a franchise record by receiving 4,125 teddy bears. That was team’s third annual teddy bear toss.
Perhaps the most notable teddy bear tosses to have taken place are those of the Hershey Bears (AHL) and the Calgary Hitmen (WHL). On December 4, the Bears hosted their annual take on the promotion at the Giant Center, and it was met with record-breaking numbers. Overall, the Bears collected 20,662 stuffed animals. That shattered the previous record of 18,115, which was set last season.
The Hitmen, meanwhile, staged their teddy bear toss on a grand scale. According to The Calgary Herald, 23,942 stuffed animals were collected as the Hitmen hosted the annual promotion at the Scotiabank Saddledome. It continued a proud tradition of teddy bear tosses in Calgary, where the Hitmen received a record 28,815 bears in 2015.
While some teddy bear tosses are already in the rear-view mirror, there are plenty to look forward to across minor league hockey. Some are just days away, while others will take place after the new year.
The weekends are a prime time for teddy bear tosses, as evidenced by the packed slate for December 17. That evening includes an entry from the Indy Fuel (ECHL), who are offering ticket specials for as low as $12. Meanwhile, the San Diego Gulls (AHL) are undertaking a similar promotion, and will give participating fans a chance to win a team autographed hockey stick. Other promotions to keep an eye on that evening comes from the Charlotte Checkers (AHL), who have donated more than 11,000 bears over the past five seasons, and the Saskatoon Blades (WHL).
For an earlier event, fans can look to Friday, December 16 for some options. Among the teddy bear tosses scheduled that night include the Texas Stars (AHL), Vancouver Giants (WHL), Moncton Wildcats (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League), and the Fargo Force (USHL).
In the coming weeks, there will be even more teddy bear tosses, including some after the new year. A pair of examples for 2017 include the Stockton Heat (AHL), who will stage a teddy bear toss on January 17 in conjunction with a player photo card giveaway. Another entry to watch comes from the Green Bay Gamblers (USHL), who are staging their teddy bear toss on February 25.
With so many great options to look forward to, it will be a solid teddy bear toss season across hockey. For fans, this represents not only the season for one of the sport’s signature promotions, but also offers the chance to head to the arena and contribute to a good cause.
Image courtesy Edmonton Oil Kings.
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