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Calgary Hitmen hockey team's 'Teddy Bear Toss' for charity creates 'avalanche of fur'

The Calgary Hitmen's annual "Teddy Bear Toss" captures the true spirit of giving.
/ Source: TODAY

It literally started raining teddy bears and other furry critters in Calgary's Saddledome Arena Sunday night — and all for a good cause.

Canada's Western Hockey League's Calgary Hitmen hosted their annual "Teddy Bear Toss" charity event during the team's game against the Swift Current Broncos. Since 1995, the Hitmen have asked their fans to bring stuffed animals to a select game in December so they can gather as many furry bears, dogs, cats, penguins, elephants and other huggable animals to donate to some 50 local Canadian charities in need during the holiday season.

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In what's become known as an "avalanche of fur," this year the team received a record number of stuffed animals — 28,815 to be exact — which were simultaneously tossed onto the ice, creating a snowstorm of furry friends. Yes, it sounds like a little kid's dream!

What's remarkable is that there were only 19,289 people in attendance for the game, according to an article on the Hitmen's website. And over the past 21 years, the team has donated more than 300,000 stuffed animals.

“It’s a great opportunity as players to give back. It really puts everything into perspective and shows us that hockey is just a game," said Hitmen player Jacob Bean in an article on the team's website. "There are a lot bigger problems in the world, but if we can help in whatever way we can then we’re more than happy to do that."

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Now this is the true gift of giving!