In the sport of hockey, it is considered extremely rude to throw anything on the ice. It obstructs the players and the referees ability to skate and call a fair game. It can also result in a delay of game penalty for the home team, where everyone just stares at a clock for two minutes. Believe me, I've seen enough things thrown on the ice that cause a delay to last me a lifetime.
There are a couple of exceptions, though. Everyone knows that if a player (preferably for the home team) scores three goals during the course of the game, everyone gets to throw a hat onto the ice. This is known as a "hat trick". Play is stopped for a brief time for the officials to collect all the hats without fear of consequence. I've seen this ritual twice in person. The first was three years ago at a minor league hockey game here in Georgia. The player did not score a natural hat trick, but he did score two of those goals shorthanded. Last January, I saw a hat trick by then Atlanta Thrasher Marian Hossa against the Los Angeles Kings. Both times, the air was filled with hats flying onto the ice. It's really fun to see.
I did mention that there was another exception. In this case, during some specifically designated games during the season, those attending can toss a teddy bear onto the ice. This is known, approiately enough, as the "teddy bear toss". It usually happens during the holiday season. The rules of the toss are simple: throw the stuffed animal (it doesn't have to be a teddy bear) onto the ice once the home team scores its first goal. All bears thrown will then be collected and contributed to charity. I have seen, nay, participated in a teddy bear toss. It's a lot of fun to fling a stuffed animal onto the ice and see a mass of people gather the bears.
The Nanaimo Clippers, WFG's very own junior hockey team, will be having a teddy bear toss this evening against the Victoria Grizzlies. If you're in the area, definitely swing by the Frank Crane arena and bring a teddy bear with you. Or two; there really isn't a limit as to how many bears you can throw onto the ice. All stuffed animals collected will be donated to the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive. Just remember that the home team must score in order to do so. And let's hope that happens quickly (and often, even though you'd have tossed your teddy bear by then).
The Nanaimo Daily News has a great article about tonight's Teddy Bear Toss. We'll see who scores that first goal!