Going to a hockey game has become a family tradition for our quartet this time of year, and it’s teaching our kids about charity.
It started last year. We attended the Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss, and the boys loved it. The idea is simple, when the home team scores a goal, everyone in the rink throws a bear on the ice. It’s been going on for 19 years and more than a quarter million stuffies have been collected.
At first I thought it was silly and over the top. Then I read the stories of the charities who need this night. More than 28,000 stuffed toys will be requested by charities in my city alone this year. From firefighters comforting kids in trauma, to emergency shelters offering at risk children something to cuddle, they all need. This year, Calgary flooded. More than 100,000 people were displaced, and aid agencies say the demand has been greater than ever for cute furry things for kids to cozy up to.
It makes so much sense. Charlie loves his Mister Froggy and if he is not present, the night time routine comes to a screeching halt until he is found. Kids need their comfort, so going to this hockey game is now part of our Christmas ritual.
The boys put on Santa hats, buy a bear, have some popcorn, cheer on the zamboni, and then wind up and toss their teddy on the ice when the first goal is scored. They understand that feeling of security the stuffy provides and they love sharing it with other kids.
This year the Calgary Hitmen Teddy Bear Toss collected 25,921 bears in an eternal rain of fuzzy fur that took more than 20 minutes to clean off the ice.
I shot a video of the Teddy Bear Toss and it has gone viral. Watch and you will understand how something as simple as tossing a bear at a hockey game can teach your kids about charity: