"So really a fun event that does good for the community."
It took all of 40 seconds for the mountain of about 300 teddy bears to rain down on the ice at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, a sight Coquitlam Express general manager Tali Campbell was happy to see for the first time in two years.
The last was Dec. 1, 2019, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic went into full effect altering the BCHL playoffs and the 2020-21 shortened season that ensued.
Campbell tells the Tri-City News the feeling was mutual between the organization and the fans to witness a key junior hockey tradition return for a greater cause Friday night (Nov. 26).
"It's fun in the respect of who can score that goal to make the bears fly onto the ice," he said.
"Fans love it as it's something different because normally, you'd get thrown out for throwing something on th ice and it's a great event as many teddy bears get donated to families in need."
This year, the stuffed animals are being donated to the Lower Mainland Christmas Bureau (LMCB) — a near-century old non-profit that aims to put a smile on every kid's face for the holiday season through acts of sharing and giving.
Christian MacDougall earned the teddy rain-maker title for the 2021 contest against Surrey, scoring on a power-play less than a minute into the first period.
The 20-year-old veteran from Toronto took a pass at the goal line on the right side of Eagles' goaltender Max Prazma and went backhand to the top left corner of the net to sound the horn.
Fans then began to toss, heave and throw the bears onto the ice. After posing for a few photos, players, volunteers and staff collected them into bins earmarked for the LMCB.
Campbell says he continues to be amazed by Coquitlam's generosity and appreciation for its own community despite ongoing challenges and struggles.
"Almost another 1,000 packed into the Train Station [last night]. They continue to come and support this team and it means so much to us."
Teddy Bear Toss night officially brought in the third-most fans of any Coquitlam 2021-22 home game thus far (962).
Capacity for Express games have since been lifted, but fans are required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 in accordance with B.C. public health protocols.
The black and yellow, unfortunately, would go on to lose 7-4 to Surrey in their fifth meeting of the season with the Eagles.
Coquitlam begins a seven-game road trip tonight (Nov. 27), 7:15 p.m. in Chilliwack against the Chiefs.