The Teddy Bear Toss is one of minor league hockey's greatest traditions, but there are rules to be followed in that tradition. Like the fact that you're supposed to chuck your stuffed animals onto the ice after the home team scores its first goal.
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Ah, yes, but what if the home team fails to score for over two periods, and you're feeling edgy about it? And then, suddenly, the visiting team scores? For Johnstown Tomahawks fans in the NAHL on Saturday night, you engage in some premature chucking:
Nicholas Sierra of the Jamestown Ironmen scored the game's first, and only, goal at 8:11 into the third period. That caused a few Johnstown fans to throw their teddy bears on the ice, despite being a tally for the visiting team. From Mike Mastovich of the Tribune-Democrat, here's what happened next:
Public address announcer Al Steele requested that fans wait until the home team scored to toss their toys. Then, suddenly hundreds of stuffed animals were thrown onto the ice.
"It is for the home team, and it's great they do this type of event for charity," [Ironmen goaltender Reid] Mimmack said. "It was interesting to see the Teddy Bears coming down when we scored. But in the end, someone had to score and it just so happened that we did."
In the spirit of the season, the Tomahawks began playing the traditional music to accompany the clean-up effort by staff and U.S. Marines. Fifteen minutes later, play resumed. "People make mistakes and people get on board," said Tomahawks coach Jason Spence, who had been through his share of Teddy Bear Tosses during his career with the Chiefs. "That stuff happens. … As long as it's for a good cause."
Indeed it was. Even if it violated the stringent rules of stuffed animal hurling decorum.
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