This year, a record number of teddy bears were thrown onto a hockey rink in Utica, New York. According to the local college newspaper for the Utica College Pioneers, the 10th Annual New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss hockey game sold out days before the December 5, 2014 event. In the past, teddy bear drives have been organized to collect the toys for sick children. However, a video commemorating the 10th Annual New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss called “Through the Years: 10 Years of Teddy Bear Tosses” has humorous tips from Utica College Pioneers’ head hockey coach, Gary Heenan.
The YouTube video posted about the 10th Annual New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss that took place in December 2014 was captioned by the Utica College Pioneers. They stated that in addition to the 4,000 teddy bears collected this year, they have collected over 20,000 teddy bears so far for local charities in the area.
The tradition of the teddy bear toss begins with the Kamloops Blazers hockey team in Canada.
According to the Blazers website, “The Blazers were the first team to start the tradition in the 1993-94 season. During that time, it is estimated that over 32,000 bears have been collected and distributed. Over the years, the Teddy Bear toss has become a regular for almost every WHL and CHL building.”
In 2007, the Canadian hockey team the Lethbridge Hurricanes broke the teddy bear toss record with 21,905 teddy bears collected. In 2014, Global News reported that the Edmonton Oil Kings broke the record by including $30,000 in auction sales for their annual teddy bear toss jerseys, along with 11,000 teddy bears.
WIBX 950 covered a segment about local news channel CNY, which hosts a DIY home improvement show called Open House. They made their own YouTube video about the teddy bear toss with New York Sash owner Scot Hayes. Filmed with Hayes’ family, they talk about their experiences with the past 10 years of the Teddy Bear Toss.
Scot Hayes, owner of the New York Sash Company, tells his children that the first year, they only collected 700 teddy bears. Over the past 10 years, Hayes has been involved with antics on the ice that make the audience laugh — but they bring awareness to the teddy bear toss cause. The video also contains funny advice from the Utica hockey team coach about how to properly throw a teddy bear onto a hockey rink.
Tips for the teddy bear toss events come from Coach Gary Heenan start with him holding several teddy bears and stuffed animals. Heenan talks about various stuffed animals he wants to toss on the ice as a demonstration and says to the camera, “This is the monkey I had on my back… I finally got it off.”
Heenan continues to give directions, and says that if the Pioneers win a goal, you throw one of the bears onto the ice. Only about five rows back, Heenan attempts to throw a giant Elmo plush toy onto the ice, but does not make it. He also tries to throw a stuffed bunny rabbit onto the ice that is also thwarted.
[All images via the referenced links.]