WATCH: 28,815 bears fly to ice for Calgary Hitmen's 'Teddy Bear Toss'

Like chestnuts roasting on an open fire, egg nog consumption increasing and visiting Santa at the local mall, the Teddy Bear Toss is one of North America’s most treasured holiday traditions. That might be a little exaggeration, but there’s no exaggerating the enormity of this event in some minor league and junior hockey markets.

On Sunday, two of the biggest Teddy Bear Toss participants anywhere played their designated “Toss” games. The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League annually fill the Scotiabank Saddledome, the home they share with the Calgary Flames, each December and bring in 20,000-plus stuffed toys every time out. The Hershey Bears, American Hockey League affiliate of the Washington Capitals also have a hugely successful Teddy Bear Toss event.

The goal of this is to get fans to come to the rink with a stuffed toy to donate to children less fortunate. Some teams offer discounted tickets with the donation. But they also try to make donation submission fun. Basically, once the home team scores their first goal, that’s the fans’ cue to start chucking the fluffy fellas to the ice.

The end result, an incredible image of teddy bears and other plush toys flying through the air in great number, piling up on the ice in overwhelming fashion.

The Calgary Hitmen were up to show the Teddy Bear Tossin’ world how it’s done as the undisputed Teddy Bear Toss champions. They were aiming to break the record for bears collected that they set with 26,919 stuffed toys back in 2007. Would they do it?

The fans had to wait a little bit, but Jordy Stollard of the Hitmen scored to tie the score 1-1 in the second period, triggering the Bear storm.

Here’s another extended look with the goal that started it all included:

The Hitmen players sure love this night, too. They get to be the first ones to play with the new toys.

According to the Hitmen, they broke their own world record by collecting 28,815 bears.

For the record, the Saddledome holds 19,289 spectators. That means a lot of people were bringing in multiple bears. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to mix a little charity with a little fun. Congratulations on the record, Calgary.

Hershey was actually first up Sunday and did they ever impress, too. Here’s a look at the frenzy after Erik Burgdoerfer scored the goal that triggered the Teddy shower.

According to the Bears, they collected 18,115 stuffed toys with their Teddy Bear Toss promotion.

These are only two of the most shining examples of the Teddy Bear Toss this year. So many other teams have done a great job with this promotion over the years.

The London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League had a pretty impressive promotion themselves. They brought in enough bears for top draft prospect Matthew Tkachuk to get buried:

London says they brought in 9,678 bears thanks to the goal scored by Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mitchell Marner Saturday night.

The Teddy Bear Toss hasn’t always gone perfectly, though.

Earliear this week Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL thought they had scored the first goal of the game, and the Teddy Bears flew. It turns out that the opposing goalie made a spectacular save instead. The play was reviewed, there was no goal on the play. But there were lots of teddy bears (via Buzzing the Net).

Hey, it doesn’t matter how they get to the ice as long as they get to the kids they’re supposed to go to.

Local charities in these hockey markets are the real winners of all of these events, though. When you can collect this many toys in this short a period of time, it will help tens of thousands of kids have a brighter holiday season this year. And it looks amazing, too.

The Calgary Hitmen are really good at the Teddy Bear Toss. (YouTube)
The Calgary Hitmen are really good at the Teddy Bear Toss. (YouTube)
CBS Sports Writer

Chris Peters has been a hockey writer for CBS Sports since 2012. Prior to that, he wrote for numerous outlets and edited the United States of Hockey blog, covering the sport at all levels. Peters also... Full Bio

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