AHL Game Ends Early After Being Interrupted By Record-Breaking ‘Teddy Bear Toss’

The aftermath of the Teddy Bear Toss at a Hershey Bears game in 2023

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Minor league sports teams traditionally rely on a variety of fairly zany stunts to give fans incentive to buy a ticket, whether we’re talking about cursed concession items, some nostalgia-inducing theme nights, and basically every single thing the Savannah Bananas do.

The Hershey Bears are no stranger to that strategy, as the AHL affiliate of the Washington Capitals has a calendar packed with promos and giveaways to lure in spectators to its arena in central Pennsylvania.

However, none of those have the ability to boost attendance numbers like the event that’s been the highlight of the team’s schedule for over two decades.

in 2001, the Bears encouraged fans to come to the rink with stuffed animals in tow to take part in the team’s inaugural “Teddy Bear Toss,” which traditionally sees attendees celebrate the home team’s first goal by showering the ice with thousands of plush toys that are collected before being handed out to the local community.

Fans in Hershey have routinely outdone themselves in recent years by repeatedly breaking the world record for the biggest Teddy Bear Toss, which sat at 52,341 thanks to what unfolded during the gathering in 2022.

The Bears were hoping to once again surpass that mark when they hosted the Bridgeport Islanders on Sunday, but they ran into a bit of a hitch after they were unable to score a single goal against the visiting team.

In order to prevent a lengthy delay toward the end of the game (it can take up to an hour for the ice to be cleared), fans were told to wait until the final horn blew before kicking off the toss in the closing minutes of the third period. However, they failed to heed that announcement and opted to flood the rink with just over five seconds remaining.

The Islanders were still awarded the 2-0 victory after officials determined there was no need to play out the remainder of a game that had already been decided, and while the Bears may have been handed the L, the hometown crowd still got a consolation W by setting a new world record thanks to the 67,309 toys that were eventually collected.

Well done.

Connor O'Toole avatar
Connor Toole is the Deputy Editor at BroBible. He is a New England native who went to Boston College and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. Frequently described as "freakishly tall," he once used his 6'10" frame to sneak in the NBA Draft and convince people he was a member of the Utah Jazz.