Calgary fans bear all in 'Teddy Bear Toss'
It was raining teddy bears - 21,453 of them - in Calgary yesterday as part of the Calgary Hitmen's 18th annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
In the junior Western Hockey League game pitting the Hitmen against the Kootenay Ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Ukranian import Pavlo Padakin's goal in the first period triggered the 16,912 fans to throw 21,453 toys.
It took around 45 minutes to clear the ice.
The toys will be distributed to needy children, with the team visiting the Alberta Childrens Hospital today. Since 1999, the Hitmen have donated over 213,000 stuffed animals. But yesterday's display fell short of the all-time record set by the Hitmen: 26,919 in 2007.
Padakin described the experience as "unreal," according to the Calgary Herald.
"Before the game, all the guys are thinking, 'Who will score the goal?' Everyone wants to score this goal because it's real nice to score. And I was thinking, 'Oh yeah, I'll score,' but I didn't believe it. But when I scored it was unbelievable. I feel really good," he said.
"I saw this on Youtube when the Calgary Hitmen drafted me this year," Padakin told the Calgary Sun.
"I think it's just a couple of bears. But no. When they start to fall down, I said, 'Oh my God. What do I need to do?' I can't skate to the bench because all ice was in bears."
A YouTube video uploaded by Buzz Bishop captured the excitement.
"The anticipation in the arena is like an overtime game. Every close call is met with a huge OOOOOHHH!! from the crowd," his blog reads.