By: Kirk and Nicolette Bodnar, STS Parents
The annual Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss took place on Saturday, December 4 in front of a full (but socially distanced) house at the Scotiabank Saddledome. As a family, we have supported the Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss for a number of years now, including last year’s Teddy Bear Lane drive-thru event. The Teddy Bear Toss is truly a highlight of the hockey season for us. When the email came out from STS about attending the game, we quickly grabbed tickets. The ticket cost included the most adorable STS 50th Anniversary teddy bear – and with 4 tickets/teddy bears, we were supplied with a veritable arsenal of cuteness to be hurled at the ice. Although, because they were so cute, we have to admit one of them ended up coming home with us and didn’t make it on to the ice.
We didn’t tell our kids about attending until game day. For a few years now, we have created a home-made advent calendar that includes acts of kindness. The kids didn’t know about the game until that morning when they read the calendar entry for that day. The entry revealed that they were going to be heading to the game and that they had to choose some of their own teddies to toss. We were so proud of how generous they were in picking out 5 bags of stuffed animals to throw (fans are asked to bring new or gently-used stuffed toys).
When we got to the game, the kids were beyond excited to see a number of their STS friends in our section. We were greeted by Brian Uzick, Community Engagement Coordinator for 50th Anniversary of STS and Brenda Thompson, Director Community Engagement, as well as a few other STS staff and faculty. When the game started the kids were screaming, dancing, and anxiously awaiting the time to start tossing. At one point in the first-period there was a very close call, that some people in the crowd thought was a goal, so teddies started getting tossed. It was quickly announced that it wasn’t actually a goal, thankfully only one of our teddies had been thrown. Shortly into the second-period the Hitmen scored and teddies went flying!
It was so amazing to watch how excited everyone was to toss those bears and fill up the rink. One of the STS students in attendance brought their uncle (visiting from the United Kingdom) to enjoy his very first ice hockey game, what a game to attend! Toward the end of the second-period there was a giveaway in our section and an STS community member received 2 tickets to a country music concert in 2022. It was a fantastic afternoon.