The Teddy Bear Toss is a charity holiday activity during minor league and junior ice hockey games that can be witnessed in early December each year. Visitors and fans bring a variety of stuffed toys to the game, teddy bears in particular. Cheerful fans throw them onto the ice after the home team scores the first goal. The toys are then collected to be donated to charities and hospitals. On many occasions, the players personally donate some of the bears to children at regional hospitals.
One of the hockey teams that runs the bear toss initiative is the legendary Calgary Hitmen. The matches are held annually at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary. Back in 2015, the Calgary Hitmen set a record of 28,815 toys collected in a single game, and in 2018 they outperformed this number reaching a record of 29,935 stuffed toys collected in a single game.
The concept of the Teddy Bear Toss originated in 1993, thanks to Don Larson, marketing director of the Kamloops Blazers, a junior ice hockey team from British Columbia. The tradition spread rapidly through the Canadian Hockey League and around the world. An exception is the National Hockey League, which bans throwing anything on the ice.