The Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League are paying tribute to frontline workers with special jerseys that they’ll wear during their annual Teddy Bear Toss game this weekend.
The jerseys were unveiled today (Nov. 30) at Rogers Place, and will be worn on Saturday, Dec. 4, when the Oil Kings take on the Moose Jaw Warriors in their 2021 edition of the Teddy Bear Toss.
The jerseys are mostly white to mimic a medical lab coat, with brown bear fur poking out at the hem, collar and cuffs. They’ll be worn with white helmets, the Oil Kings’ usual blue breezers, and brown socks also designed to look like teddy bear fur.
The front of the jersey features a special version of the Oil Kings’ alternate logo, with a cartoon bear replacing the human face.
The front of the jersey also features a stethoscope over the left shoulder as a tribute to frontline health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. A pocket on the right chest, under the WHL logo, includes several pens and a lollipop.
“It’s spectacular. It’s a nice recognition. We’ve all worked hard through this but it’s nice to be recognized,” Teresa Berdusco, a nurse in the emergency department at Edmonton’s Royal Alexandra Hospital, told Global News.
“It’s been long. It’s been a tough go for some people. We’ve been doing this day in and day out for the past 20 months with really no end in sight, kind of. It just keeps coming in waves and hopefully, it’s going to end soon.”
The back of the jersey features names and numbers in red and a fluffy brown teddy bear tail at the hem.
Teddy Bear Toss games are a tradition for teams across Canadian junior hockey. When the Oil Kings score their first goal of the game, fans are encouraged to toss stuffed animals onto the ice. The toys will be collected and donated to 630 CHED Santas Anonymous, a local Christmas charity.
In 2019, more than 16,000 teddy bears were thrown onto the ice. Since starting Teddy Bear Tosses in 2007, Oil Kings fans have donated more than 121,000 stuffed animals.
Feature photo courtesy @EdmOilKings / Twitter