Edmonton Oil Kings' fans marked their 16th annual teddy bear drive with an outpouring of 15,000 teddy bears onto the ice arena during a game against the Everett Silvertips. The event, a heartwarming tradition rooted in charity, took place following a goal by Landon Hanson midway through the first period, triggering fans to rain down stuffed animals on the rink.
A Decade-Long Tradition of Giving
Being an established practice since 2008, the Western Hockey League team has shown steadfast commitment to this tradition. Over these years, they have donated an impressive total of 163,000 teddy bears to various charities. The tradition of teddy bear drives at hockey games is not unique to Edmonton; it traces its origins back to the Kamloops Blazers in 1993. The collected stuffed animals from the game are prepared into gift packages, combined with a book and other toys, and distributed to families on December 16.
The Record to Beat
Although the collection by the Oil Kings is substantial, it falls short of the record. The Hershey Bears, the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL's Washington Capitals, hold the record for the most teddy bears collected at a game, with a staggering 67,309 teddy bears gathered in January. This feat toppled their own previous record of 52,341 bears from 2022.
A Triumphant Night
The evening was not only marked by the benevolent bear shower but also a triumphant win for the Oil Kings. Despite facing three separate deficits throughout the match, the team managed to secure a 5-3 win over the Everett Silvertips. This event serves as a testament to the spirit of sportsmanship and charity, bringing joy to both the fans and players while serving a noble cause for the less fortunate families in Edmonton.