Sunday, 2 December 2012

Hitmen Show Giving Spirit

The player in the picture to the left is Pavlo Padakin, a Calgary Hitmen forward. Pavlo is looking quite happy as he holds that massive teddy bear because Padakin made it rain bears inside the Calgary Saddledome today! Continuing a December tradition, the Hitmen asked fans to bring teddy bears and stuffed toys to the rink today for their 18th annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss where fans are permitted to litter the ice upon the Hitmen's first goal. Over 50 charities had requested over 20,000 toys be brought to the rink today, and it looks like the Hitmen may have come close, if not exceeded, that total!

Since 1999, the Hitmen have collected over 192,000 toys that have gone to boys and girls across the province of Alberta through various charitable organizations. For example, the Calgary YWCA will receive 330 stuffed toys to be given to kids who come to their shelter. All in all, this is an excellent charity event, and it's great to see the people of Calgary tossing as many toys as they can. Last season, Calgary fans tossed collected 25,303 stuffed animals, and in 2007, they threw a record 26,919 toys on the ice!

Today, with 6:33 remaining in the first period, Pavlo Padakin tapped in a perfect pass from linemate Brooks Macek, and the downpour of bears began! Over half and hour later, the ice was clean, and the game was able to resume. But that's a pretty impressive amount of stuffed animals on the ice, and the people of Calgary should be commended for their generosity in this holiday season. Well done, Calgary!

Another note from this game is that the Hitmen were wearing their Christmas-themed jerseys as part of the promotion! Pavlo Padakin also shows off part of his jersey while being buried in fur and stuffing.
It's the same jersey they wore last season for the annual game, so there's not much to point out. Snow-capped number, the Teddy Bear Toss logo on the shoulder patch, and the Santa cap on the Hitmen logo are the main updates to the jersey. It's different than their normal black uniforms, so kudos to the Hitmen for going all out and decking their players in suitable promotional uniforms for this event year after year!

Some great charitable organizations are going to benefit from the game, so they'll go home happy. The players helped these causes get some much needed help over the holiday season, so they can be happy. And the fans? They got to see Calgary down Kootenay by a 4-1 score, so they got to toss some toys and see a win! Sounds like today was a pretty solid day for hockey and for the people in Calgary, if you ask me. And that's truly the spirit of Christmas - giving and happiness.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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