By Lethbridge Herald on November 30, 2023.
By Justin Seward
The Lethbridge Hurricanes are ready for the invasion of the teddy bears tonight at the Enmax Centre in their 27th annual Toque and Teddy Toss.
The donation requests of teddy bears is up about 1,000 and toques are up to between 400 and 500 from last year.
“So the need is great,” said Kathy Hong, marketing with the Canes.
“I think you’ve (heard) pretty much every organization ask that or say that at some point this year, especially around the holiday season. You never want someone to be out anywhere cold or a kid to not have something to open on Christmas Day.”
This is the highest amount of donations requested that Hong has seen in her 13 seasons with the club.
“So, we’re looking for over 6,000 bears and 1,000 toques,” said Hong.
The Hurricanes support 20 organizations in the city and surrounding area with the donations including the hospital’s CRH Foundation, Streets Alive, the Lethbridge Interfaith and Taber food banks, the Blood Tribe Police and Emergency Services and Napi Friendship Society in Pincher Creek to name a few.
“It means a lot to us,” said Hong.
“It’s a big night for us too. Our players love it, our staff love it, we love seeing the community get together (and) supporting each other. It’s a really fun game for us. For us, we’re really happy to be able to provide an opportunity for our fans to help give back to the community in a different way.”
Captain Joe Arntsen said it’s a very exciting game.
“It’s always a huge crowd and to be able to donate all those bears to great organizations and causes is awesome,” said Arntsen.
Head coach Bill Peters said it gives you a lot of juice.
“It’s an exciting night,” said Peters.
“Everyone wants to be the guy who makes it rain bears. You want to be the guy who scores that goal and look forward to getting out in the community and distributing those bears. So it’s a real good initiative.”
Hurricane players are expected to deliver bears to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon.
Fans can throw their toque or teddy on the ice once the Hurricanes score their first goal of the game and are asked to put those items in a clear, clean plastic bag.
This year’s opponent for the raining of the bears is the Eastern conference-leading Saskatoon Blades and puck drop is at 7 p.m. tonight at the Enmax Centre.