STOCKTON, Calif. – The Stockton Thunder, a two time recipient of the ECHL “Award of Excellence,” announced a total of 4,706 stuffed animals were collected and donated to local nonprofit agencies after the Thunder’s seventh annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game on Jan. 21 against the Las Vegas Wranglers at Stockton Arena.
Teddy Bear Toss was presented by News10, Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel, KAT Country 103 and Miracle Mile Realty. The Thunder defeated Las Vegas 7-5 and rookie center Jesse Fratkin scored the Thunder’s first goal of the game with a second left in the first period which ignited a showering of stuffed animals onto the ice by fans.
The event drew a crowd of 7,405 this year to Stockton Arena and aims to help deliver new or gently used teddy bears and other stuffed animals from the hands of hockey fans across the San Joaquin Valley to local nonprofit agencies, courtesy of the United Way of San Joaquin County.
Volunteers which included the Stockton Fire Department, Woodbridge Fire Department, Stockton Host Lions and United Way helped collect the donated stuffed animals, which were carried off the ice in vehicles courtesy of Chase Chevrolet of Stockton and Bekins Moving & Storage.
The event has also meant success on the ice and at the box office for the Thunder. In seven games of the annual event, the Thunder is undefeated in regulation in six of them at 4-1-2. Five of the seven games have attracted sellout crowds at Stockton Arena and each game has attracted crowds of 7,000 or more.