By Staci C. – Silvertips Staff Writer
EVERETT, Wash. – The teddy bear toss game is a special game for all of the teams who participate in it in the Western Hockey League. The mission is simple: first Tips goal – let the fur fly. The thing around these parts: early on, there wasn’t the best luck with scoring the elusive teddy bear toss goal.
The first two years: the scoreboard had shutouts by opponents both times. Thankfully, there is a rule with the teddy bear toss night that if no goals are scored by the home team by the end of the second period, fans will be able to toss the bears.
Head coach Kevin Constantine talked the close call teddy bear toss goal this evening – a rebound that Eetu Tuulola precisely stashed under the crossbar for a 1-1 tie and the eventful fur shower.
“I was curious whether a goal has been called back after all the teddy bears hit the ice, I would be curious to know the answer to that,” said Constantine.
“You know, I couldn’t tell whether or not the goal went in, the light came on so obviously the goal judge thought it was in. The refs had a big discussion as the puck was actually in the goalie’s glove–whether he picked it up or his glove crossed the line, I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you anything about it except they counted it and we didn’t have to give the teddy bears back to the fans.”
Replays confirmed the events unfolding at high speed: Eetu Tuulola following Kevin Davis’ rebound bid, stick on puck, rebound goal up high, under the crossbar.
The tension on the ice was growing as the first period saw no goals and the second period was nearing the end and no bears had been tossed onto the ice.
“It’s always in the back of your mind and everyone’s kind of gripping their sticks a little tighter,” said forward / first star Matt Fonteyne. “Everyone wants to get the goal and going that long without getting it—it got a little nerve wracking.”
The man of the evening was Tuulola—who got the teddy bear toss goal.
“I was a lucky one to get it,” said Tuulola. “I think our game started to go a lot better after we got that goal.”
Eetu is from Finland and he spoke about how something like a Teddy Bear Toss is not common where he is from.
“It was my first time [seeing a game like this] and there is a little bit more show here—in Finland, we don’t have that. But it’s definitely nice, it’s more for fans and everybody and I like that.”
Xfinity Arena saw 5,377 fans for the Teddy Bear Toss and the bears beautifully rained down onto the ice.
It was a very memorable experience – with hope in store to see more successful Teddy Bear Tosses from the Silvertips in the future.
As the final count of the donated stuffed animals await (no clear number coming until Tuesday), it was a moment that will be memorable for the players, staff and fans for a long time to come.
This story was not subject to the approval of the WHL or its clubs.