The holiday season is full of traditions, and for junior hockey teams in Canada that holiday tradition is the teddy bear toss — where stuffed animals are thrown onto the ice when the home team scores its first goal, and are donated to charities.
And that was no exception for B.C. Hockey League teams in the Okanagan this past week.
The Vernon Vipers started by holding their teddy bear toss on December 9th against the Penticton Vees.
Niko Karamanis scored the big goal at the Kal Tire Place — for the second straight year, in fact — in a game that Vernon would win 4-0.
The bears there are donated to KISS FM’s Santa Toy Club Charity.
The schedule-makers weren’t kind to the Vees for being a visiting team on teddy bear toss nights. They visited West Kelowna on Friday when the Warriors hosted their bear toss.
Chase Dubois made it rain teddies at the Royal Lepage Place, in what was a 3-2 overtime win for the Warriors.
Those stuffed animals are donated to Mamas for Mamas, a non-profit group in Kelowna that supports low-income mothers.
Penticton did get the last laugh, however, in terms of teddy bear tosses they were a part of.
In their final game before the holiday break on Saturday, against the Nanaimo Clippers, Taylor Ward scored for the Vees, to cue a barrage of bears being thrown to the ice at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Those bears were given to the Salvation Army to be distributed in the community. Fans could also buy bears at the rink from Petsmart, with proceeds going to Petsmart Charities of Canada.