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Hockey’s Teddy Bear Toss is maybe the best annual sports tradition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

When you think of hockey games, the last thing you probably think of is a barrage of teddy bears being flung onto the ice after a goal. Hockey has a long list of strange and wacky traditions, but the Teddy Bear Toss is among the best, and cutest, of the bunch.

The idea was invented in 1993 by the Kamloops Blazers, a major junior hockey team in Canada’s WHL, but has since become popularized by more than a handful of hockey teams. Perhaps the most famous is the Teddy Bear Toss done by the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, where in 23 seasons since the start of their tradition in 1995, fans have thrown 347,948 stuffed animals onto the ice.

This past weekend, Hitmen fans showered their ice with 24,605 stuffed animals, all benefiting 60 local agencies and charities in the Calgary area.

The scene is, of course, as chaotic as it sounds.

In Calgary, defenseman Vladislav Yeryomenko got the Teddy Bear Toss goal in the first period, sending the place into a frenzy.

Hockey has since latched onto the tradition, with leagues like the AHL and NCAA holding their own Teddy Bear Toss nights of varying sizes benefiting various charities.

The tradition has spawned some incredible moments in minor league and college hockey, but no NHL team has yet to get in on the fun. Maybe for the best though, as the Hitmen experienced a delay of over a half-hour to clean up all the flying fur. So worth it, though.