June 23rd, 2024

Teddy bears to take flight tonight


By Dale Woodard on December 3, 2021.

The fur will fly freely Friday night at the Enmax Centre.

Finally.

After getting sidelined last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lethbridge Hurricanes 25th Annual Canadian Tire Toque and Teddy Toss returns tonight as the Canes host the Brandon Wheat Kings in Western Hockey League at 7 p.m.

As per the annual tradition, a plethora of plush toys will rain down on the ice after the Hurricanes score their first goal of the night with those flung fuzzies finding new homes.

This season, bears and toques collected will be donated to local organizations around southern Alberta, including the Chinook Regional Hospital, Lethbridge Family Services and Blood Tribe Emergency Services.

As the Hurricanes wrapped up practice Thursday afternoon, a few players bravely waded in with their predictions on which of their teammates will score the Teddy Bear goal, complete with a little play-by-play.

Returning from a broken hand, forward Chase Wheatcroft had a little love thrown his way, as did rookie Logan Wormald and his blazing start to his WHL career.

In what could possibly be a first in the history of the Teddy Bear Toss predictions, one Hurricane even selected himself.

A two-vote recipient, Wheatcroft went the rookie route with his prediction.

“I think Logan Wormald is going to get the goal, the young little 16-year-old is going to put it away,” said Wheatcroft.

“He’s been hot lately. He’s up on the power play now and I think he’s going to be able to get here.”

Wheatcroft then busted out the X’s and O’s on how it’s all going to go down tonight.

“(Alex) Thacker is going to come down the left side wall, he’s going to hit me in the middle for a faked one-timer, over to Wormald, he puts it in, teddy bears come flying.”

Hurricanes overage forward Logan Barlage selected the guy who wears number 27 for Lethbridge.

That, of course, is Logan Barlage.

“I feel like I’m going to get one this weekend. It’s going to be a good shot in the slot,” said Barlage

Thacker didn’t take Barlage’s route of picking himself, but still made himself a part of the goal.

He settled on leading scorer Justin Hall.

“He’s one of the hottest guys on the team right now, if not in the league, so I’ll have to give it to him,” said Thacker.

“It might be a two-on-one with me and him. I’ll give him the pass.”

While Barlage picked himself, teammate Ty Nash cast a vote for his teammate as well.

“He’s been getting lots of chances, it just hasn’t gone in the back of the net,” said Nash of Barlage.

“The goal is going to be nice and greasy in front, either a tip or a rebound goal.”

Meanwhile, forward Jett Jones and defenceman Nolan Bentham cast their vote for Wheatcroft.

“He’s been out of the lineup for a while, so I think he’s going to have a lot of adrenaline going to start the game,” said Jones.

“It’s a big game, so I think he’s going to rise to the occasion and get it. If it’s going to be Wheats, it’s going to be a pretty goal, either a breakaway or a two-on-one or some kind of odd-man (rush). He’ll either put a nice deke on or put a good shot in.”

Bentham also pointed to Wheatcroft’s absence over the past month.

“He’s coming back and he’s hungry, so I think he’s going to be the guy,” said Bentham. “I think it might be off a defensive zone draw, maybe a stretch pass and he’s on a breakaway and he’s just going to bury it.”

The Hurricanes come into tonight’s game off a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings last Friday that improves them to 8-10-1-0.

That puts them in 10th in a tight Eastern Conference, with two points tonight potentially vaulting the Canes as high as sixth.

The Wheat Kings sit two points up on the Hurricanes at 9-12-0-1, currently on a three-game winless skid.

They will be without Lethbridge product and captain Ridly Greig, who is serving a two-game suspension for an interference major and game misconduct in Moose Jaw against the Warriors on Tuesday.

However, another local product, Rylen Roersma, skates into tonight’s game with eight goals and 14 points in 22 games, looking to snap a seven-game pointless streak.

Tonight’s game wraps up a four-game homestand as the Hurricanes head to Calgary Saturday to face the Hitmen at 2 p.m.

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