Teddy Bear Toss through the years

Oshawa, Ont., – A tradition that began in Oshawa 23 years ago, will add another chapter this Sunday, December 11th, when the Generals host their 24th Annual Teddy Bear Toss game, against the visiting Barrie Colts. Behind only the Kitchener Rangers streak of 27 years, Oshawa has the second-longest Teddy Bear Toss tradition in the Ontario Hockey League

Oshawa’s first ever Teddy Bear Toss took place at the old Civic Auditorium, in 1998 when defenceman Jim Baxter scored against the Peterborough Petes to start the cascade of bears to the ice. In its first-ever event, Gens faithful donated more than 1,300 bears to children in need.

As any tradition does, it continued to grow over the years, with almost every single year seeing an increase in bears from the year before. Before the Civic Auditorium closed, and the now Tribute Communities Centre was open, it saw eight renditions of the Teddy Bear Toss game, collecting 16,498 bears over that span. The largest Teddy Bear Toss collection at the Civic Auditorium was its final time hosting the event when the Generals collected 2,717 bears after now New York Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck scored against the Bellville Bulls.

When the Generals moved arenas to play at the Tribute Communities Centre, attendance rose and so did the bear totals. On December 10th, 2006, Corey Cowick scored the first Teddy Bear Toss goal in the new building, reigniting the tradition with a new era of Oshawa Generals fans.

The very next year, a Teddy Bear Toss moment went down in Generals history when Patrick Asselin THOUGHT he scored the all-important goal. Asselin’s goal brought down a new record high of 3,626 bears, before his goal was called back. That’s right, for the first time in Generals’ history, the Teddy Bear goal didn’t count. Six minutes later Asselin scored again, this time for real, and all was right in GensNation.

Throughout the years, fans continued to fill the building for the holiday tradition, breaking attendance and bear records with each new edition of the game.

To date, the largest crowd to take in a Teddy Bear Toss game was 6,008 fans, when the Generals defeated the Bellville Bulls 3-2 on December 14th, 2012. The largest crowd to even take in the tradition threw more than 5,400 bears onto the ice. Despite being the largest crowd, this is not the record for bears collected.

That honour belongs to the 2014 edition when Michael Dal Colle’s goal against the Niagara IceDogs brought 6,072 bears down to ice level. The year before, Dal Colle also had the honour of scoring the Teddy Bear Toss goal, bringing more than 5,500 bears to the ice.

Despite the success of the tradition in getting bears to kids who need them most in Durham Region, the Generals haven’t seen success on the ice in a Teddy Bear Toss game since the 2013 toss, when they defeated the Bellville Bulls 5-2. It was their seventh straight victory on Teddy Bear Toss night. Now, the Generals are riding a six-game losing streak on the game, scoring only the eventual Teddy Bear Toss goal in four of those games.

This season, the Generals will return to hosting the Teddy Bear Toss in its traditional form, following two years of Drive-Thru Toss taking place in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last two years, GensNation has braved not only the pandemic, but cold, windy and rainy weather to continue the tradition by donating canned goods, winter clothes, and of course teddy bears.

The 24th annual Teddy Bear Toss takes place this Sunday at 6:05 p.m. at the Tribute Communities Centre when the Generals host the Barrie Colts. For tickets, please click here. 

Previous Teddy Bear Toss Records
*Total teddy bears collected in 23 years – 80,623

Year Gens’ Goal Period   Time Collected   Attendance   Opponent Outcome
1998  J. Baxter 1st 15:56 1,352 3,121 Peterborough  6-4 Loss
1999  N. Lees 1st 6:57 1,672 2,772 Kingston 4-2 Loss
2000  J. Kozoriz 2nd 2:21 1,709 2,391 Guelph 4-1 Win
2001  J. Johnson 1st 6:55 1,931 2,745 Kingston 4-3 OT Win
2002  C. Elliot 1st 15:38 2,164 2,770 Sudbury 8-2 Win
2003  C. Hulit 1st 17:25 2,462 2,925 Brampton 2-2 Tie
2004  B. Trudell 1st 19:44 2,491 3,168 Kingston 3-3 Tie
2005  C. Clutterbuck 1st 9:28 2,717 3,629 Belleville 4-1 Win
2006  C. Cowick 1st 12:54 1,930 3,481 Mississauga 11-5 Loss
2007  P. Asselin 1st 7:58 3,626 4,984 Saginaw 4-2 Win
2008  B. Parnham 1st 11:21 3,976 4,984 Belleville 5-2 Win
2009  A. Berger 2nd 4:12 4,402 4,543 Belleville 4-3 SO Win
2010  C. Thomas 2nd 4:34 3,117 4,075 Kingston 3-2 OT Win
2011  C.Thomas 1st 11:09 4,012 5,168 Sarnia 8-4 Win
2012  C. Carlisle 1st 16:12 5,470 6,008 Belleville 3-2 Win
2013 M. Dal Colle  1st  5:34 5,542  5,432  Belleville  5-2 Win
2014 M. Dal Colle  1st 8:44 6,072 5,976 Niagara 4-1 Loss
2015 A. Cirelli 1st 4:48 6,017 5889 Saginaw 3-2 Loss
2016 M. Vande Sompel 2nd 8:29 5,770  5781 Saginaw 6-3 Loss
 2017 K. Huether  3rd 5:06  5,605  5202  Saginaw 3-1 Loss
 2018 J. Studnicka  1st 8:02  4,583  5075  Windsor  4-1 Loss
2019 T. Tullio 1st 13:44 4,003 4660 Kingston 5-4 SO Loss
2020 Drive-Thru Toss held due to COVID-19
2021 Drive-Thru Toss held due to COVID-19
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