PORTLAND, ME – November 16, 2020 – While the annual “Teddy Bear Toss” will take on a different look this year, the Mariners will continue holding the tradition of the fan-favorite toy drive in 2020-21. Beginning today through December 18th, the Mariners will accept stuffed animal donations to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. Fans will also still get the opportunity to “toss” their bears on December 5th.
“We’re happy to be partnering with the Maine Mariners on this initiative for our members,” said Karen MacDonald, Chief Operating Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine. “We’re looking forward to sending the teddy bears and stuffed animals home with our kids this year.”
Traditionally, the “Teddy Bear Toss” is a holiday staple across minor league hockey, with fans encouraged to throw stuffed animals onto the ice after the home team’s first goal. Last season, Mariners fans tossed 1,523 bears on December 7th, 2019, as forward Jake Elmer scored the goal just 2:15 into the game. Proceeds benefitted local fire and police stations.
“Being able to bring some joy for kids that need the bears more than we do, makes me feel a lot of pride,” said Elmer. “Being able to score the goal and celebrate with the team and fans is something really special in hockey. I love the Teddy Bear Game.”
While there will be no “Teddy Bear Game,” this season, fans will have the opportunity to “toss” their bears, in a drive through event outside the Cross Insurance Arena on Saturday, December 5th. The South Portland Professional Firefighters will be on hand to help collect for the South Portland Holiday Toy Drive – the secondary beneficiary of the Teddy Bear Toss. Fans will be able to toss their stuffed animal donations into bins. The event will take place on the Spring Street side of the arena from 9 AM to 12 PM.
Fans can also drop off stuffed animal donations at the Mariners front office on 94 Free Street in Portland, starting today. Donations will be accepted between 9 AM and 4 PM Monday through Thursday, until December 18th, with the exception of Thanksgiving Day. Alternatively, fans who wish to purchase a teddy bear to be donated, can do so through the Mariners merchandise store for $10, with the option of bundling an end section ticket voucher (redeemable in 2020-21 or 2021-22) for $20.
For all donation methods, only new stuffed animals containing tags will be accepted.
“The Teddy Bear Toss is one of the best minor league hockey traditions,” said Adam Goldberg, Mariners Vice President of Business Operations. “It is fun to throw them on the ice, but even more importantly, it can brighten the holiday season for many underprivileged youth in the area. That is why we couldn’t skip the Toss this season. Please consider donating a new stuffed toy and I promise to give you the opportunity to throw something else on the ice in the future.”
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Maine has provided youth development programs for children ages 6-18. Their Clubhouses are safe places to learn, have fun, and develop skills and interests that last a lifetime. The Clubs serve nearly 3,000 members each year at five Clubhouses throughout Southern Maine. For more information visit bgcmaine.org
The Mariners are aiming to begin a 62-game season on January 15th, pending jurisdictional approval. The 2020-21 season is sponsored by Hannaford To Go. Mariners Holiday Packs are now on sale, with three tiers available to fit all gift-giving budgets and early bird pricing running throughout the month of November. Holiday Packs, brand new third jerseys, and all of the latest Mariners merchandise, including face coverings are available for purchase through the online store: MarinersOfMaine.com/shop.