It was a good night for the Hershey Bears and a record-breaking night for teddy bears.
The Pennsylvania pro-hockey team hosted its annual Teddy Bear Toss, a time-honored hockey tradition that invites fans in the stands to chuck stuffed animals onto the ice after the home team sinks its first goal. When the toys defrost, they’re donated to local charities.
It took eight minutes for the bears to score, and that was the cue to commence the mayhem.
Fans pelted players with stuffed animals from every seat in the stadium. Toys quickly outnumbered men on the ice in piles that grew feet high.
“IT’S RAINING STUFFED ANIMALS IN CHOCOLATE TOWN!” commentators cheered.
The torrent of toys delayed the game by 40 minutes.
Naturally, players took the break to dive into the cushioned pile. Bears defenseman Martin Fehervary swung at the toys with his hockey stick as though they were softballs — and to an extent, weren’t they?
In all, Bears staff counted 45,650 toys, from huggable teddies to a gigantic stuffed sloth that waded down the stands like a crowd surfer. The team says this year’s haul is the largest ever among all participating teams and the final tally numbered 10,000 toys more than last year’s toss.
The toys will be split among 40 central Pennsylvania charities, the team said. One club seat holder pledged to donate $1 per stuffed animal to Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit that raises funds for pediatric hospitals and medical research, according to CNN affiliate WHTM.
To top if off, the team won in overtime later Sunday night — a victory for all Bears involved.