Like many events in 2020, the teddy bear toss was a little different at Budweiser Gardens this year.
Typically, 9,000 eager hockey fans patiently awaited the first London Knights goal before hurling thousands of stuffed animals onto the ice.
But with the OHL season on hold until at least February, the Knights and Spectra Venue Management offered an alternate way for fans to donate: a drive-through drop off at the Budweiser Gardens parking lot.
Kelly Austin, director of marketing for Spectra Venue Management at Budweiser Gardens, says about 270 cars come through on Sunday.
“It was a tremendous outpouring of generosity by the city and it was amazing to see,” Austin said.
“The teddy bear toss is a London Knights tradition that has been going on for many years and with no games being played we wanted to find a way to carry on that tradition.”
Once a final tally was counted, a total of 1,781 teddy bears had been collected, along with hundreds of hats and mitts for The Salvation Army.
“It’s great to see that our city is still coming together to support a cause that’s needed more now than ever and we are excited to be a part of that again this year with the drive-thru teddy bear toss,” said Mark Hunter, vice president and general manager of the London Knights.
The bears will be delivered to the Salvation Army so they can be given to local children through the organization’s annual Christmas Hamper Program.