Hockey players and fans in Calgary got a warm and fuzzy feeling when a barrage of stuffed animals were thrown onto the ice as part of the 18th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss.
In Sunday's game pitting the Calgary Hitmen against the Kootenay Ice at the Scotiabank Saddledome, Pavlo Padakin's goal in the first period triggered the 16,912 fans in attendance to throw 21,453 toys.
“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.
A YouTube video uploaded by Buzz Bishop captured the excitement in the Scotiabank Saddledome.
It took around 45 minutes to clear the ice, he added.
The toys will be distributed to needy children. Today, the Hitmen will hand out the stuffed animals at the WestHills Petro-Canada gas station and will visit the the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Since 1999, the Hitmen have donated over 213,000 stuffed animals, including yesterday's haul. But Sunday's display fell short of the all-time record set by the Hitmen: 26,919 in 2007.