In hockey, some goals are more memorable than others. The ones that break records. The ones that win championship games. Or in the case of Bakersfield Condors center Brad Malone, the ones that send 10,549 stuffed animals flying from the stands to the ice in a single moment.
Malone, 28, has played for the Colorado Avalanche, Carolina Hurricanes and Edmonton Oilers during his NHL career. He has also played for the Lake Erie Monsters, Chicago Wolves, Hershey Bears and the Condors during his AHL career. On Saturday, the center scored at 2:15 of the second period against the San Antonio Rampage on the Condors' annual Teddy Bear Toss night.
It was a straightforward goal: forehand, backhand and through the five hole of Rampage goalie Spencer Martin for a short-handed, breakaway tally. Except that this one gave the 8,862 fans at the game in Bakersfield permission to toss their bags of stuffed toys onto the ice, as is tradition.
IT'S A RECORD! This year's Teddy Bear Toss total is 10,549, shattering the record! All-time total is now 121,395! pic.twitter.com/24gbW8aRSJ— Bakersfield Condors (@Condors) November 27, 2017
"This will definitely be a memory I'll have the rest of my life," Malone said Saturday after scoring the first goal of the night for the Condors, the AHL affiliate of the Oilers.
The final count for the toys was 10,549 stuffed animals thrown on the ice -- a new record for the team. The total count through the 19 seasons of the event is 121,395 stuffed animals donated to local nonprofit organizations through the United Way of Kern County.
"We're fortunate to be able to play a game for a living," Malone said. "And to see the impact that goal had is pretty incredible."