Hitmen set record with bear hands

SCOTT FISHER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

The Teddy Bear Toss record is back in the Stampede City.

Less than 48 hours after the Lethbridge Hurricanes set a new Canadian Hockey League record by collecting 22,736 stuffed animals, Calgary Hitmen supporters took it right back.

Yesterday's annual Petro-Canada Teddy Bear Toss netted 26,919 stuffed animals for numerous Calgary children's charities.

Hitmen forward Ian Duval's powerplay goal at 4:52 of the opening period touched off the avalanche of bears.

"It was awesome to hear we broke the record," Duval said. "So, Lethbridge, take that."

The Hurricanes' temporary record broke the Hitmen's mark set last year (15,540).

Stuffed animals rained down on the ice for more than 10 minutes and the game was delayed a half-hour while Hitmen players and volunteers filled eight mega-cab trucks and then lugged the rest of the haul out by hand.

The Hitmen, who wore special Teddy Bear Toss jerseys for the game, missed setting an attendance record.

The crowd of 17,341 fell short of the previous Hitmen attendance record of 19,017 when the Saskatoon Blades visited last March.

Duval said he enjoyed the atmosphere in the near-full building.

"I missed (the Teddy Bear Toss) last year because I had the flu," said Duval, who scored twice and had an assist in Calgary's 6-2 win over the Prince George Cougars.

"It was pretty exciting to see all those fans.

"That was probably the most people I've ever played in front of."

The Hitmen are back at the 'Dome Wednesday to face the Prince Albert Raiders (7 p.m., The Fan 960).

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A FEW NUMBERS TO TOSS AROUND

Attendance for yesterday's Hitmen home game: 17,341

Number of bears tossed onto Saddledome ice: 26,919 (a record)

Previous Canadian Hockey League record for the bear toss: 22,736 (set in Lethbridge on Friday)

How long the bear toss took: 10 minutes

The number of mega-cab trucks it took to haul the bears away: 8


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