Garrett James Photography

Express victorious on Teddy Bear Toss night

It took a late power play and a goal by Josh Wildauer with just 1.8 seconds remaining on the clock, but the Coquitlam Express remain undefeated at home. In what was their teddy bear toss game, the Express managed to score four goals and defeat the Nanaimo Clippers by a final score of 4-3.

It’s a little bit Scrooge-like to shut out a team on their teddy bear toss night. Young fans in the crowd, sitting in the stands with excitement and anticipation for when the home team scores its first goal and they can toss their stuffed animal over the glass are disappointed, and the team on the ice is disappointed, too.

The teddy bear toss is a concept that began in 1993 with the Kamloops Blazers, with the first recorded teddy bear toss occurring on December 5, 1993, when a goal by Brad Lukowich prompted fans to throw over 2,400 bears onto the ice.

It is now a tradition in hockey leagues all over Canada and the rest of the world, but is still discouraged by the National Hockey League. The BCHL, however, likes to have some fun. The Express killed that fun for the Nanaimo Clippers last year when they shut them out on their special night – so it’s not hard to believe that the hockey gods may have been unhappy with Coquitlam.

Luckily, forward Ethan O’Rourke scored a beautiful goal to open the scoring for the Express in the first period:

In all seriousness, the teddy bear toss is a great tradition and is for a good cause, as the stuffed toys are gathered up and donated to local charities and hospitals, just in time for the holiday season. The toys from the Express’ game were gathered up by Coquitlam’s players into three bins and donated to the SHARE Society.

It was a sight like few others to see the entire Express bench spill over the boards to pick up all the bears that were tossed over the glass.