THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS Timmins Rock goalie Tyler Masternak had the opportunity to share his crease with Ted E. Bear prior to the start of Mondays practice at the McIntyre Arena. With backup netminder Jean-Marc Brisson absent from practice, any thoughts of dressing Bear as his replacement were quickly dashed when attempts to fit his head into Brissons mask proved unsuccessful. With a great deal of effort and the assistance of a half dozen Rock players they were finally able to get him into Tyler Hutchinsons road helmut, but Bear will likely have to go through concussion protocol because of the experience. Masternak and Bear remind readers the Rock will be holding their annual Teddy Bear Toss during Tuesday nights game against the Cochrane Crunch at the McIntyre Arena.
With a huge rivalry game against the Cochrane Crunch on the agenda for Tuesday night at the McIntyre Arena, the Timmins Rock are hoping to see a capacity crowd — comprised of humans and stuffed animals — on hand.
Rock president Ted Gooch notes the team usually collects around 700 stuffed animals during its fourth-annual Teddy Bear Toss, but they are hoping to crack 1,000 this time around.
“We always draw larger crowds when we face Cochrane,” he said.
“It should be a great game and we are encouraging all the fans to bring bears — or other stuffed animals, large and small — with them to make it rain on the ice when the Rock score their first goal.”
That first Rock goal, of course, will be the signal for fans to toss their teddy bears and other stuffed animals onto the ice surface.
“We haven’t really decided what we would do if there is not first Rock goal,” Gooch said.
“It is one of those things we don’t like to talk about, or even think about. We had started to worry a little bit last year, because the goal came so late in the game, but we believe in the boys and we know they will go out and give the fans the opportunity to toss the bears on the ice.”
For the record, the first Rock goal in the 2017 Teddy Bear Toss game — a 3-1 loss to the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners on Dec. 5 — was scored by Riley Brousseau at the 16:45 mark of the second period.
This year, the teddy bears and other stuffed animals will be donated to the Timmins and District Hospital’s emergency department.
“Youngsters having to visit the ER will receive a stuffed animal to comfort them,” Gooch said.
Fans who forget to bring a stuff animal with them to Tuesday night’s contest will have the opportunity to purchase a Timmins Rock teddy bear from the team, for $10.
At some point, Rock players will deliver the bears collected during Tuesday night’s contest to the hospital.
“We make sure they are all cleaned and air dried, of course,” Gooch said.
Goalie Tyler Masternak is one of the Rock players who is looking forward to Tuesday night’s Teddy Bear Toss.
“It was a real cool experience,” said the NOJHL’s top goalie, who watched the 2017 event from the end of the bench while Eric Jackson patrolled the crease.
“It was great to see all the fans thrown all of the teddy bears and other stuff animals onto the ice.
“It is going to be a fun time again this year.”
Traditionally, the Rock do not normally announce who will start in net in advance of their games, but Masternak confirmed prior to Monday’s practice he full expected to be in the crease.
Despite the prospect of teddy bears falling from the stands, the 2000-birth-year Oshawa native won’t be paying any more attention to what’s going on at the other end of the ice.
“I still have my own job to do,” he said.
“That will be my main focus. I just hope our goals comes pretty quick.”
Before he started playing Junior ‘A’ hockey, Masternak actually got to toss some teddy bears on the ice with his family.
“Back in my hometown, I went to an Oshawa Generals game with my family for their Teddy Bear Toss game,” he said.
Being a goalie, if the volume of bears being tossed onto the ice becomes too intense, Masternak always has the option to duck into his net for protection.
“I just might do that,” he said, with a chuckle.
Tuesday’s game against the Crunch at the McIntyre Arena is scheduled to start at 7 p.m