The forecast in Hershey, Pennsylvania today called for sunny skies, a brisk 52 degrees Fahrenheit, and a brief, heavy, downpour of fuzzy stuffed animals.
The latter certainly came to fruition during Sunday’s contest between the AHL’s Hershey Bears and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, when fans poured thousands upon thousands of stuffed teddy bears onto the ice at the Giant Center.
The annual promotion — featured every season around the holidays by many teams across the Junior A, CHL, low-minor and AHL ranks — encourages fans to bring teddy bears to the arena and toss them on the ice after the first goal is scored by the home team. All toys collected are then donated to various charities helping those in need at Christmas time.
Hershey had a particularly massive haul this year, bringing in a whopping 25,000-plus bears when all was said and done. It was a new record collection for the team and its fans, besting last season’s total of 20,662.
Some more looks at the inspiring scene in Hershey:
Between the stuffed ones, the mascot, and the players themselves, that’s a whole lot of bears.