Teddy Bear Toss season is truly a glorious thing, and this year has delivered the most successful one of all time. It comes courtesy of the AHL's Hershey Bears (minor-league affiliate of the Washington Capitals) and the nearly 35,000 stuffed animals their fans rained down onto the ice over the weekend.
It happened during the Bears' game against the Binghamton Devils on Sunday. After Hershey forward Riley Barber scored midway through the first period, a heavy rainstorm of plush toys commenced and, as always, it was a sight to behold.
The official tally came in at 34,798 toys, which smashes the team's previous record of 25,017 collected in 2017. The massive haul also significantly tops the previous world record of 28,815, which was set by the Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen in 2015.
If you're not entirely familiar with the concept of the Teddy Bear Toss, it's a popular practice among minor league hockey teams, who ask fans to bring stuffed animals to a game (typically around the holiday season) and toss them on the ice following the home team's first goal. Think hat trick, but with stuffed animals.
Not only does it create for a visually stunning spectacle, but it's done for an amazing cause. After all the stuffed toys are thrown onto the ice, they're collected and then donated to kids in need for the holidays.
In this particular case, it's not just the toys that are going to help those in need. CommunityAid, which sponsored Hershey's Teddy Bear Toss, also pledged a $0.50 donation for each bear collected at the event (capped at $15,000) if the new world record was set. On top of that, a Bears club seat holder agreed to donate $1 per stuffed animal collected on Sunday.