The fur is set to fly at the Saddledome again this weekend.
The Calgary Hitmen will host the Swift Current Broncos in their 21st annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss game on Sunday afternoon (4 p.m, Scotiabank Saddledome).
It’s one of the most anticipated games of the year for both fans and players.
“It’s their opportunity to play in an NHL building, in front of an NHL sold-out crowd,” Hitmen head coach Mark French said. “It’s a lot to be excited for.”
As of Friday afternoon, less than a thousand tickets remained for the game that has collected over 270,000 stuffed toys since 1995.
“It’s amazing, you see people coming in with not just one bear but four, five, six bears,” Mike Moore, Hitmen general manager and VP of business operations, said.
After collecting all the fuzzy toys, Hitmen players will deliver them to over fifty local agencies, including the Calgary Food Bank, Stephen’s Backpacks, the Salvation Army and the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Watch below: Hitmen players deliver stuffies to the Alberta Children’s Hospital
Calgary Hitmen build teddy bears for annual Teddy Bear Toss
“I think it offers a real nice perspective for the guys,” French said. “Part of our job at the junior level is to teach life skills and to make them better people…I think these are one of the events that really have a chance to have them give back and become a better person for it.”
“It means a lot to our guys and certainly they recognize, again, that they can be part of our community and a significant part of our community,” Moore added.
Fans are encouraged to arrive early (doors open 90 minutes before puck drop) and bring small to medium-sized stuff toys to throw on the ice when the Hitmen score their first goal of the game.
Watch below: Radel Fazleev scores the 2014 teddy bear goal