Hershey Bears Shutout For First Time In Teddy Bear Toss Game, Fans Toss With Five Seconds Remaining, Rest of Game Cancelled

Photo: Joe Noyes/NoVa Caps

It’s one of the greatest traditions in all of hockey. The Hershey Bears annual Teddy Bear Toss game. It’s rumored the players have a bet and/or pool of money for the one who pots the toy-tossing tally, but regardless, it’s a tremendous honor for any player to score the frenzy-igniting goal.

This year’s event was held on Sunday against the Bridgeport Islanders. Unfortunately, the  Islanders blanked the Bears, 2-0. Bridgeport goaltender Jakub Skarek made 39 saves to silence a Bears offense in front of a sold-out crowd of 10,583.

As a result of the shutout, the Bears faced something they hadn’t faced before in the history of the event. No teddy-tossing goal. In fact, the toss has never advanced to the third period, with goals being scored five times in the second period, and the rest being scored in the first period of play. Liam O’Brien scored the latest goal in the event’s history in 2017, initiating the toy toss at 13:27 of the second period.

An announcement was made to the crowd at Giant Center with 3:06 remaining in regulation, asking fans to refrain from throwing teddy bears until after the game. The announcement was met with a steady stream of boos from the Giant Center faithful.

Later, following a stoppage in play, with just five seconds remaining in regulation, fans decided to begin tossing their plush animals.

The Bears reportedly contacted the league office and the final five seconds of the game were ultimately erased, thus ending the contest. Bears’ defenseman Vinny Iorio had a message for the fans following the game:

In the end, it was another record-setting night in Hershey, as the team announced Sunday evening that they had collected 67,309 teddy bears, a new world record. Hershey set the old world record last season with the 20th anniversary toss. accumulating 52,341 bears;

The Bears have conducted the much-anticipated event since 2001, collecting over 300,000 stuffed animals as part of the club’s Hershey Bears Cares initiative, which “showcases the philanthropic activities and volunteer efforts of Bears players and staff members throughout the community.”

Teddy bears and stuffed animals are collected annually by the Hershey Bears and their fans and donated to more than 35 local organizations including Dauphin County Children and Youth Services, Cocoa Packs, Boys & Girls Club of Harrisburg, Palmer Lions Club, and Autism Society Greater Harrisburg Area.”

Scenes From Hershey:

Della Young/NoVa Caps 

Photos: Joe Noyes/NoVa Caps

By Michael Fleetwood

About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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20 Responses to Hershey Bears Shutout For First Time In Teddy Bear Toss Game, Fans Toss With Five Seconds Remaining, Rest of Game Cancelled

  1. Brianna says:

    That is sad

  2. Jon Sorensen says:

    That was a tough one. Bears had a dozen high-quality chances and Islanders goaltender said no. He had a .892 save percentage entering the game.

  3. Embarrassing says:

    Let’s be clear. The people booing and who threw bears with five seconds left were not “fans”. They weee trash. How embarrassing. Sure it was a sold out game. But too many idiots there to just throw a bear. Not support the team.

    • novafyre says:

      So did some people take their ‘bears’ home with them? Even as a fan, I know I would be so disappointed. I don’t know if I would want to just throw the toy without a goal to celebrate.

      Which will be worse, Bears game or Caps game today. Leafs have already chased Darcy back to the bench.

      • Anonymous says:

        These stuffed animals go to a number of charities and ultimately to a lot of children. If you’d rather take them home because they didn’t score, then that says a lot about you.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lighten uo

    • Eric Lord says:

      Relax. It wasn’t even a big deal. The game was over. It isn’t like it was a one-goal game. The announcement made with over three minutes left made things worse. I understand what they were saying, but their was a lot of frustration in the crowd because the Bears hadn’t score. Everyone wanted to throw their animals & the announcement just made that frustration level higher. This is where Hershey needs a backup plan. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton has it that if the Pens don’t score by the end of the 2nd period, the toss occurs during the second intermission. Maybe the Hershey organization needs to adopt the same policy. That would prevent any incidents

  4. Anonymous says:

    5 seconds remaining is a formality. But it feels like there was no plan in place. Most teddy bear tosses without a goal by the end of two periods holds the toss at the end of the second period.

    • Anonymous says:

      There was no plan that I was told when entering the game.

      • Jon Sorensen says:

        I’m not sure that’s something that would be announced or not. Doesn’t set a good tone from the start. It’s a highly unique situation, never even came close in the last 20 years. We just need to keep in mind the big picture and great benefit to the local charities. The game will fade, but the work will not.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The announcement with 3 mins was a bad idea all the way around.

    • Anonymous says:

      If they didn’t say anything, I bet the same thing would have happened. The announcement just made angry fans angrier

  6. novafyre says:

    Jon, about Garin. Pension Plan Puppets, Toronto fan site, has an extensive article on the business of hockey. In it they say

    “The team a player signs a contract with doesn’t tell you where the player is playing once training camp is over. Many players are loaned to other teams. We usually use the term “sent down” to refer to loans to the minor leagues, but all of these transactions are loans. There are many NHL-contracted players in the AHL, and they are subject to all the rules of the NHL CBA — they are paid by their NHL teams and are eligible to play on the NHL team. There are a small number of NHL players in the ECHL as well. Players in the ECHL might be on loan from either an AHL or NHL team, and they are subject to those contracts and CBA rules and are paid the salary set in that contract for.”

    When I read that, I tend to believe that Garin going or not going on LTIR is strictly a Caps call. As an NHL contracted player, he is subject to NHL rules. So, since the last things the Caps did was to loan him to the Stingrays, the Rays just keep him on the roster waiting for either his return or the Caps to do something. So any official statement about Garin’s status would come from the Caps.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Interesting. Thanks for the blurb, Fyre.

      I wonder if it also has to do with burning a year of his entry level-deal versus an “entry-level slide” year, which is often done.

      • novafyre says:

        Now you’re getting into things I really don’t understand.

        If it is a Caps’ issue (Cap’s decision) that would explain why the Rays don’t talk about him on their website, don’t mention him in their broadcasts (even the segment on goalies they had), and haven’t answered you. It’s not their decision. So far, that is the only thing that makes sense to me. But then I know nothing about entry level deals and slides.

        It’s just a puzzle that won’t stop bothering me.

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