Ontario Hockey League fans are clearly in a giving mood this holiday season.
As has become tradition in the OHL during the past several years, many teams host a Teddy Bear Toss game before Christmas where OHL fans have the opportunity to donate a new or gently used stuffed toy to various charities during the holiday season.
The Kitchener Rangers were the first team in the OHL to host a Teddy Bear Toss 15 years ago and they brought in a record number of bears for their annual event on Tuesday against the Guelph Storm.
This season, Rangers' fans littered the ice with 6,831 Teddy Bears after Jason Akeson scored the Rangers' first goal of the game - at 12:13 of the opening period.
The Rangers have brought in more than 5,000 bears in each of the past eight seasons and topped the previous record of 6,528 bears brought in last year. They have collected a total of 68,043 bears that are distributed in their community.
The London Knights hosted their Teddy Bear Toss game last Friday and received 8,232 bears that were donated in support of the Salvation Army.
All 20 OHL clubs hosted a fundraising event with their fans to help support local charities this holiday season.
This season more than 50,000 stuffed toys were collected by OHL teams.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)