A Pennsylvania minor league hockey team set a record on the ice on Saturday — but it had nothing to do with hockey.
The Hershey Bears of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) bested their own world record Saturday when fans tossed more than 50,000 stuffed animals onto the ice in their 5-0 win against the Hartford Wolf Pack.
The team's annual Teddy Bear Toss promotion invites fans to bring new or gently-used stuffed animals to a game. When Hershey scores its first goal, the team asks fans to throw the toys they brought to the game onto the ice. Team officials then collect the stuffed animals and donate them to local charities.
Axel Jonsson-Fjallby had the honor of scoring the Bear's first goal on Saturday, which came about six minutes into the game. As the goal horn blared, fans threw thousands of stuffed animals on the ice. According to the Bears' team website, the celebration caused a "lengthy" cleanup delay.
It wasn't the only time Bears officials would have to clean off the ice. Jonsson-Fjallby would later record two more goals for a hat trick, and Bears fans took part in the hockey tradition of throwing their caps onto the ice.
Tonight, we BREAK our own record! The 2022 @GiantFoodStores Teddy Bear Toss has produced a grand total of 52,341 stuffed animals! THANK YOU! #TeddyBearTossHershey #HersheyBearsCares pic.twitter.com/0WUEYd6ULy— Hershey Bears (@TheHersheyBears) January 23, 2022
Later, the Bears tweeted 52,341 stuffed animals were thrown onto the ice after the goal. According to Penn Live, that bested the world record of 45,650 the team previously set in 2019.
Saturday's event marked the first in-person Teddy Bear Toss since 2019. The team held a socially-distanced drive-in toss in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.