NHL Should Do the Teddy Bear Toss

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Posted December 6, 2016

(Stingrays teddy bear toss)

This time of year around various hockey leagues, teams participate in the Teddy Bear Toss, where fans are encouraged to bring teddy bears to games and toss them onto the ice once the home team scores its first goal. The teddy bears go to a local charity to be distributed to kids for the holidays.

This event is usually a staple for hockey teams as it allows fans to come and enjoy the game while directly helping their local community. The players seem to love it too.

As the video above shows, the moment all the bears flying onto the ice can be quite a site. The ice gets crowded with teddy bears usually resulting in a 5+ minute delay.

Linesman Bob Goodman lends a hand during the 2012 Teddy Bear Clean-Up (it took over 20 minutes to collect the 12,000+ bears).

Why don’t NHL teams do the Teddy Bear Toss? Almost every league in hockey does it, including the Caps’ affiliates, the Hershey Bears and South Carolina Stingrays. Some teams at the collegiate level do it.

I can only see one reason: The delay, which would be much longer with a bigger crowd. While this happens anyway with hat-tricks (though fans don’t necessarily brings hats just in case one happens), the teams can certainly prepare for one ahead of time with more staff to help clean them up.

If the NHL is worried about the break in action, that is a horrible excuse. Imagine what a teddy bear toss could mean for a local area. With larger crowds, I can easily see close to 25,000 bears on the ice. Hershey Bears fans just tossed over 20,000. While NHL teams already do quite a bit for charity, this is an opportunity for fans to contribute while doing something far more fun – the toss – than simply donating something.

The NHL is missing out on a great part of hockey, . Imagine the boost in national coverage the league would get. They could even stage it where all 31 (including Vegas) teams have a home game in a matter of days. If the NHL is missing out on something, simply because they fear a break in the action, then maybe we should strop throwing hats onto the ice.

Here are more examples of crowds throwing the bears onto the ice.