WATCH: 28,215 teddy bears tossed onto ice at hockey game

By David Kenyon

Sports teams have a unique opportunity to encourage giving, especially during the Christmas season.

The Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League recently held their annual teddy-bear drive. Fans are asked to bring the stuffed animals and toss them onto the ice after the team scores its first goal.

Most importantly, the teddy bears are then donated to less-fortunate children.

Watching 28,215 stuffed toys being launched over the boards brings all sorts of thoughts and emotions, but sheer madness describes the situation.

The Hitmen noted that the near-20,000 fans in attendance tossed a record-setting number of teddy bears onto the ice at Scotiabank Saddledome, which is also the home of the NHL’s Calgary Flames.

According to the team’s site, there was a 37-minute delay to clear the ice of the toys. The teddy bears will be distributed to more than 50 agencies, including the Calgary Food Bank, Stephen’s Backpacks, the Salvation Army and Siksika Children’s Services.

More teams should partake in events like this. Not only would attendance increase for a night — and let’s be serious, that’s an important factor for a sports franchise that is also a business — but the game can also be an outlet for people to give a Christmas present to someone who might not otherwise receive one.