What Is The Origin Of The Hockey Hat Trick?
Fans go crazy when a player is awarded a hat trick, but many of those fans do not know the origin of the hockey tradition. A hat trick in hockey refers to one player scoring three goals during the course of a game. When this happens fans reward the player by throwing hats down onto the ice. This act usually results in a break in the game to allow all of the hats to be swept from the playing area.
The origin of the hockey hat trick is a bit of a mystery. Many think the term has it’s roots in the game of cricket. In the game of cricket, a player who is able to take three wickets with consecutive balls is given a hat as a prize for remarkable achievement. It is still customary today to give a cricket player a hat after such a performance, as it is not a common occurrence. There have been less than forty hat tricks recorded throughout the history of cricket.
This is not the only possible origin for the hockey hat trick. Some people credit Sammy Taft with starting the tradition. Sammy lived in Canada, where he owned a hat store. If a player from his home team would score a goal, it is said that Sammy would send them a free hat.
The first account of a person tossing their own hat on the ice is probably the truest origin of the hockey hat trick. A man named Guelph Biltmore in Ontario sponsored a team called the Biltmore Mad Hatters. If a person on his team scored three goals he would throw his top hat onto the ice. Fans soon followed his lead by tossing their own hats onto the ice.
When looking at the origin of the hockey hat trick a person will find not only hats are tossed onto the ice; other objects are as well. It is customary for Florida Panther’s fans to toss plastic rats onto the ice after a player scores three goals. These plastic rats are often cleaned up by a man in an exterminator suit. This tradition began after Scott Mellanby, a forward on the Panther’s team, killed a rat in the dressing room before a game. During the game when he performed a hat trick the announcer dubbed it a “rat trick”.
Even though the origin of the hockey hat trick is a bit of a mystery, the tradition is carried on at most stadiums across the USA and Canada. The player that scores the hat trick is usually given the hats. If he does not want the hats they are given to charity or kept in a display case at the team’s home arena.