STOCKTON, Calif. – The Stockton Thunder, a two-time recipient of the ECHL “Award of Excellence,” announced a record 5,835 stuffed animals were collected and will be donated to local non-profit agencies after the Thunder’s sixth annual “Teddy Bear Toss” game on Jan. 22 against the Ontario Reign at Stockton Arena.
Presented by News10, Jackson Rancheria Casino & Hotel, KAT Country 103, California Water Service Company and Pepsi, the event hosted a 4-1 Thunder win over Ontario. Jim McKenzie scored the Thunder’s first goal of the game in the first period, and fans were invited to follow the event’s tradition and throw a stuffed animal onto the ice.
The event, drawing a sellout crowd of 9,482 this year to Stockton Arena, aims to deliver new or gently used teddy bears and other stuffed animals from the hands of hockey fans across the San Joaquin Valley to non-profit agencies, courtesy of the United Way of San Joaquin County.
Volunteers from the Woodbridge Fire Department, the Stockton Fire Department, the United Way and other volunteers helped collect the donated stuffed animals, which were carried off the ice into trucks courtesy of Chase Chevrolet and Pacific Storage Company of Stockton.
The record donation helped raise the total to over 24,300 stuffed animals donated from fans to non-profit agencies in San Joaquin county.