Hershey Bears

Hershey Bears

Fur was a-flyin’ as Teddy Bear Toss season gets under way

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December has arrived and that means it is Teddy Bear Toss season.

Truly the greatest time of year where hockey teams and their fans from all levels and all parts of the globe participate in a great charity effort. Once the home team scores, the fur starts flying down to the ice with numerous local organizations benefiting.

This past weekend we saw a trio of strong Teddy Bear Tosses.

First up, the the AHL’s Hershey Bears, who beat the Hartford Wolf Pack in overtime 4-3, but not before a world-record total of 45,650 stuffed animals were collected following Christian Djoos’ goal.

Bears fans delivered and surpassed the previous record total of 34,798 collected during the 2018 event. Over 40 charities will receive the stuffed animals, including schools, food banks, churches, lions clubs, as well as the Milton Hershey School, Children’s Miracle Network, and the American Cancer Society.

Heading out west and staying in the AHL, the Bakersfield Condors held their event on Saturday night and it was Josh Currie getting the party started late in the first period of a 3-1 victory in front of the fourth-largest crowd in team history.

Here’s the great Ryan Holt to take us through the Condors’ 21st Teddy Bear Toss goal:

The Condors announced on Monday that they collected 8,380 stuffed animals, which will be benefiting local children through the United Way of Kern County.

Staying out west, Carson Focht may have scored the most memorable goal of his career for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen on Sunday afternoon. He only needed 94 seconds to open the scoring to allow the fans inside the Saddledome to toss their stuffed animals from everywhere.

The 25,025 teddy bears that were picked up will benefit 70 local charities with players distributing them on Monday, including a stop at Alberta Children’s Hospital. The Hitmen have been holding the annual event since 1995 and have now collected 402,608 stuffed animals in the last 24 years.

Finally, the WHL’s Vancouver Giants will be holding their Teddy Bear Toss this weekend, but they did release the jersey they’ll be wearing for two games and boy, are they in the holiday spirit.

Vancouver Giants

That’s one way to get festive, and a nice departure from he “ugly sweater” jerseys that have cropped up over the last few years.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Nearly 30K stuffed animals fly during Calgary Hitmen’s Teddy Bear Toss night

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The WHL’s Calgary Hitmen fell short in their quest to reclaim the Teddy Bear Toss world record.

One week after the AHL’s Hershey Bears saw 34,798 teddy bears fly to their ice and break the Hitmen’s 2015 record, the crowd inside the Saddledome made it rain with fur Sunday afternoon after Kaden Elder’s first period goal. The 18,015 fans, many of whom brought large plastic bags filled with stuffed animals, helped break a franchise Teddy Bear Toss record with a total of 29,635, up from the 28,815 collected three years ago.

“It was an awesome experience and something I’ll never forget,” Elder said via the Hitmen website. “The atmosphere in the rink was unbelievable with all the fans and the teddy bears. It was definitely an adrenaline rush and when it went in I was thinking about the celebration and kind of zoned out because I was trying to just take in the moment and enjoy every second of it. It just a surreal moment.”

After a 41-minute cleanup delay, the Hitmen went on to win 6-3 over the Kamloops Blazers.

The Hitmen have now collected a total of 377,583 stuffed animals since their first Teddy Bear Toss promotion in 1995.

The event helps benefit 70 local agencies, including the Salvation Army, Calgary Food Bank, Siksika Nation and Hospice Calgary. The Hitmen will spend Monday delivering some of stuffed animals to Alberta Children’s Hospital.

MORE: Teddy Bear Toss season is the best season

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Unleash the furry: 34,798 teddy bears fly as Hershey Bears set world record

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Last week we talked about the opening of Teddy Bear Toss season, and the goodness continued on Sunday night in historic fashion.

The fans of the AHL’s Hershey Bears delivered during the team’s Teddy Bear Toss night. Following Riley Barber’s first period goal, the Giant Center crowd unleashed the furry and let the bears fly.

When it was all said and done and the bears were counted up, the Hershey fans helped set a world record with a grand total of 34,798. The previous record holders were the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen, who collected 28,815 in 2015. The Hitmen, by the way, will hold their Teddy Bear Toss Night this upcoming Sunday, so the challenge has been laid down for the Saddledome crowd.

AHL

According to the Bears, over 30 local charities will receive the bears for distribution, which is just another reason why this is the best promotion in sports. Hockey, teddy bears, throwing soft plushy toys on the ice, and people are helped out in the end.

It was a pretty good night for all bears involved. First, you had the Teddy Bear Toss world record and then the Hershey Bears went out and topped the Binghamton Devils 6-3.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy

Trade: Caps acquire Oshie from Blues for Brouwer, Copley and draft pick

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The Washington Capitals continue to load up.

After signing Justin Williams on Wednesday, the Caps have acquired T.J. Oshie from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Troy Brouwer, goaltender Pheonix Copley and a 2016 third-round pick.

“T.J. is an outstanding skater with a tremendous skill set,” said Caps’ GM Brian MacLellan in a statement. “He is a powerful player and has consistent track record of production throughout his career in the NHL. We feel that he complements our core group nicely and can help us get to the next level in achieving our ultimate goal.

“We also want to thank Troy for his contributions to our organization on and off the ice and wish him well in St. Louis.”

Oshie has two years remaining on his five-year, $20.875 million deal, which carries a cap hit of $4.175 million. The 28-year-old had 19 goals and 55 points in 72 games last season.

With Oshie off the books, it gives Blues’ GM Doug Armstrong a little more room to work with in the on-going negotiations with restricted free agent forward Vladimir Tarasenko.

Brouwer, who has one year remaining on his three-year, $11 million deal, comes in at a cap hit of $3.6 million.

Copley went 17-4-3 in 26 appearances with the Hershey Bears in 2014-15 posting a 2.15 G.A.A. and a .925 save percentage. The 23-year-old was expected to challenge for the starter’s role in Hershey next season.

Related: Caps landing ‘affordable’ Williams a sign of the new free agency

Caps’ Trotz on Orlov: ‘We’d like to take a look at him’

Fresh off his three-game conditioning assignment with the Hershey Bears, Dmitry Orlov is excited at the prospect of getting into NHL action with the Washington Capitals in the near future.

Orlov’s conditioning assignment was his first game action of any kind since undergoing surgery on his wrist last May.

“I’m most excited to play,” Orlov told The Washington Post. “Missed, what, 10 and a half months I think? Nice to be on the ice, nice to be playing. Good time right now for me and hope I would play for Caps soon a little bit. We’ll see what coach say, if I go out there or not. But I play in Hershey and it was good to understand I can play again.”

Orlov was recalled on Thursday, but remains on the long-term injury list.

With the Capitals currently trying to nail down a playoff spot, it’s uncertain when Orlov will return to the lineup, but coach Barry Trotz would like to see what the 23-year-old is capable of.

“We’ll see what we do in the next little while here, if we put him in a game or two,” said Trotz. “That’ll all depend on what happens the next couple games, probably. Yeah, or we might have an injury too. It might be as simple as that. But we’ll get him back. I think it was good for him to get some actual real hockey in.

“There’s probably still some rust in his game and he’s got a lot to catch up, but we’d like to take a look at him at some point to see where he is at this level.”

Orlov had three goals and 11 points while averaging 19:36 in ice time in 54 games last season.

With a win in regulation tonight against the Ottawa senators, the Capitals can clinch a playoff spot.

Orlov is unlikely to play tonight, but with three games remaining the Russian’s regular season debut appears close.