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Samson made it rain Saturday

On Saturday evening, at the 5:15 mark of the second period of the WHL game between the Kamloops Blazers and the Prince George Cougars, Ethan Samson of the Cougars scored.

And inside CN Centre, it started to rain.

It was mainly teddy bears with reported showers of toques and other clothing, and it was what everyone had been waiting for.

The annual Teddy Bear and Toque Toss is held every year just before Christmas, and, if possible, it seems the schedule makers try to arrange for the opponent to be Kamloops or the Kelowna Rockets, teams which are likely to have fans of their own at the game.

Having attended a number of Teddy Bear games here and in Kamloops, I can say I have spoken with travelling fans who have brought a teddy bear to the game. Occasionally, they will throw it on the ice when their team scores, but the majority enter fully into the spirit of the game and throw it when the home team scores.

Over the years, I have seen a few interesting things at these games. A couple of times, someone has brought an absolutely HUGE teddy bear, one which they have no chance of throwing from their seat. When the big goal is scored, they pass it to the row in front of them and they pass it on, and eventually it gets to a point where someone can lob it over the glass and onto the ice.

That’s one of the other things that has changed over the years. It used to be just the glass the fans had to clear with the bears. Now, of course, there is also the safety netting. On Teddy Bear Night, there are a number of people stationed in the rafters all around the rink.

Their job is simple. When the puck goes in, drop the netting. After the final teddy bear flies, pull it back up again.

Sometimes the Teddy Bear Goal doesn’t come as quickly as it did on Saturday. I have been at games where the home team was held off the scoresheet into the third period. On one of those occasions, about five minutes into the third period, a fight broke out.

Some of the fans, obviously having no faith in their home team, started throwing their bears at that point. So now there’s a pause while the crews come out and clear the ice.

Then, 30 seconds after the game resumed, the home team scored.

Now, the vast majority of the bears flew, and a few fans were probably being laughed at by their friends for not having a bear to toss.

I also remember one game a few years ago, which I was covering for the Prince George Free Press. Since it was a Saturday in December, it was also an Operation Red Nose night, and I was volunteering. I told the ORN people on Friday evening I couldn’t guarantee what time I would be there, since I had to get pictures of the Teddy Bear Goal.

I walked into Operations Red Nose headquarters about 7:30 that night. People were asking if someone else was getting the picture for me.

I said, “No, the Cougars scored about two minutes in, so I am done for the night there.”


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