HERSHEY, Pa. — Goal, lamp, toss. That is the order of operations for players, staff and fans of the Hershey Bears during their 20th annual "Teddy Bear Toss" game.
The fans didn't have to wait long for that sequence to commence as Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored his first goal of the night just over six minutes into the game.
And when the light went on, the stuffing rained down from every level in another magical moment at Giant Center.
The anticipation for the fans was everywhere in the arena as last year this event was held in drive-though fassion due to COVID-19.
"Oh my god, we've been looking forward to this for so long," exclaimed Brian Moran, who made the trip from Fairfax, Virginia. "It's been great. We set the world record last time, 45 thousand and change bears, going for 50 this year, there's no reason we shouldn't have 50 (thousand)."
Moran has been to this game before, five times in fact, so he knows the drill and he loves it.
"When the horn goes you throw them from the stands and then you duck and cover, because it rains fluff and stuffing. And there's always somebody that has a 12 foot bear out of nowhere."
For Joey Demetriou of Hershey this was his first "Teddy Bear Toss" game and he was seated in the 200 level so he needed a plan of attack to get the large bag of animals that included Coco the dog he and his family brought to hit the ice.
"Probably just throw them as far as I can, or as we can. I don't know how far that's going to be."
For some fans this game is a tradition, for others it is their first time experiencing hockey at all, like Lilly from Pittsburgh.
"I was very excited because anyone would be for their first hockey game and I was just really excited for the Hershey Bears to be my first game."
Of course Lilly had the drill down and was prepared with a massive teddy bear in her arms.
Yes the Bears defeated the Wolfpack 5-0 and Axel Jonsson-Fjallby scored a hat trick (three goals), but when asked after the game if he will remember the hat trick or "Teddy Bear" goal, the answer was an easy one.
The win is nice, the moment is even better because this night in Giant Center is about one thing only.
"We just want to give back to the community and give to kids that need it more than we do," said Chambersburg resident Clint Walter. "
"We've been collecting for three years now. We actually have a 55 gallon trash bag that we brought tonight."
A win on the scoreboard, the ice and in the stands as a new world record amount of teddy bears are collected in Hershey. Much to the approval of Brian Moran who predicted over 50 thousand.
The final tally 52, 341.