This weekend, the ice at the Value City Arena will be covered with more than blood, sweat, and tears. Ohio State’s Saturday night contest against Notre Dame will mark the team’s third annual Teddy Bear Toss.
When the puck drops at 7:07 on February 2nd, fans will wait in anticipation for the end of the second period. At the start of the second intermission, fans will toss fluffy bears from their seats to the ice. Arena workers will then collect the bears and prepare them to be taken to a local Ronald McDonald House for Valentine’s Day.
The fan experience crew at Ohio State has run this promotion for a couple of years and has reported a steady increase in participation from the Scarlet & Gray faithful. Last year, Buckeye hockey players delivered more than 800 bears to the Ronald McDonald House.
New bears can be either brought to the game wrapped in plastic bags or purchased in the arena concourse before the game. The team asks only that the bear is unused and soft enough not to injure any innocent bystanders (ahem, Fighting Irish fans) who might be in the line of fire.
Traditionally, fans have tossed bears onto the ice after Ohio State’s first goal of the evening. This year’s change has probably more to do with preserving the speed of the game than quelling the Buckeyes fear that the visitors might post a shutout on them, but you can make your own conclusions.
Throwing the bears during the second intermission instead of after the Buckeyes’ first goal does strip fans of mounting anticipation, but Ohio State’s decision to change the process is smart considering it lessens the likelihood of fans engaging in a Teddy Bear Toss atrocity: premature chucking.
Earlier this season, the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League hosted its 18th annual Teddy Bear Toss and saw more than 20,000 bears hit the ice. Below is the video of the Hitmen’s impressive feat:
And here is the video from OSU’s Inaugural Toss: