History of hat tricks in ice hockey
| |

What is a Hat-Trick in Ice Hockey? Stats & More

Hat-Tricks in Ice Hockey are a rare occurrence! You could consider yourself lucky, if you’re in the arena watching a live Ice Hockey game, and got to witness something as special as hat-trick. 

Hat-tricks are events which make fans get out of their seats and throw their hats onto the ice. Even though throwing materials into the ice is a violation, this is given an exception.

Throwing hats by spectators is a way ice hockey fans celebrate this feat as it’s tough to achieve. And if you’re looking to know about this rare aspect of offensive play, you’re at the right place. In this article, we’re going to discuss everything about the history of Hat-tricks and how it was adopted into Ice Hockey. 

So What is a Hat-Trick?

What is a Hat Tricks in hockey

A Hat-trick in hockey is an occasion when a player scores 3 goals during the duration of a single game. It is a moment of extreme joy for spectators and fans of the team that accomplished the hat-trick. 

For the goals scored to count, they must score within the regular playing time or overtime of the match. In addition,  goals scored during shootouts are not counted for hat-tricks. 

Once this happens hats are thrown into the ice to reference the player for accomplishing such a great feat.

The term Hat-trick, in ice hockey, came from… cricket?

According to the National Hockey League, the History of hat tricks goes back to cricket. As we all know, a wicket in cricket is formed by three upright wooden round sticks that are thwacked into the ground. It must be defended by the batter to save its wicket.

In 1858, right-arm fast bowler H.H. Stephenson took three back-to-back wickets against South Yorkshire, the opposing team from Hallam.

To celebrate this stroke of genius, the whole team gathered a collection to buy him a hat and then presented it to him. This shows the origin of a hat trick in a game, but it’s still unknown how it made its way into Hockey.

Origin of the Hat-Trick in ice hockey: a Story of Sammy Taft and Alex Kaleta

The most popular history associated with hat-tricks in hockey is linked to Sammy Taft, a Toronto business person. The History began when he made a deal with the forward of the Chicago Blackhawks, Alex Kaleta. 

Coming to the story, Alex Kaleta went to Taft’s shop in 1946, where he liked a fedora but couldn’t afford it. Considering Kaleta not to be a very talented player together with the difficulty of scoring three goals, a deal was made. Taft promised to give him the hat for free! Only if he scored three goals in the coming game against the Leafs. Kaleta agreed and a deal was made.

Luckily, Kaleta scored four goals during the game and won against the Toronto Maple Leafs by 6-5. When the press got to know the story behind the goals, they coined a phrase.

Taft used the success of the game and the deal with Kaleta as an advertising medium. According to a source, later on, reporters quoted Taft as saying, “Yeah, that was some trick he pulled to get that hat”.

Taft retired from giving hats! But fans have kept alive this tradition and throw their hats to a player who scores three goals onto the ice.

Along with the sources mentioned above, there is another one as well. According to some, this term was first used by newspapers in the 1930s and 40s.

After mentioning famous stories about the origin of the hat trick, if we go with the second story, we’ll have to believe Chicago player Alex Kaleta’s story, which is a testimony of that belief.

the canadian version on the origin of hat-tricks

A similar story occurred in Montreal where a hat store named Henri Henri used to offer a hat to the players who scored a hat-trick. The Hat Store did this at the Montreal Forum for 20 years, from 1950 to 1970.

However, according to research, this took place in 1950. The debate is still over the city where it first started, Montreal or Toronto. After learning all the above-told data, the question arises of how this tradition of throwing hats made its way to Ice Hockey. 

Talking about the hats, a question arises what happens with the caps? Where do those hats go?

Well, hats are presented to the player, and he can choose one as a souvenir among those and all the collected caps are put in a basket. Fans can come and pick up their hat, and if there are any hats remaining after the selected time frame, they donate them to a charity or sell them to a thrift shop.

What Are The Types of Hat-Tricks in ice hockey?

There are different types of Hat-tricks in Ice Hockey, and below, we’re going to discuss each hat trick type one-by-one :

There are 3 types of Hat tricks in ice Hockey

Natural Hat-trick 

A natural hat trick occurs when a player scores 3 goals consecutively in a hockey match, without any goal from other players on the ice

The natural hat trick happens with two possibilities :

  • The player is required to score three goals within a single period.
  • The player has to achieve three consecutive goals in a game

Texas Hat-trick

This type isn’t very common. A Texas hat-trick is a player scoring four goals in a single game. It’s worth mentioning that the term Pants also floats around it.

However, no matter how someone labels it, it’s too fantastic to achieve this feat in this modern, fast-paced game.

Gordie Howe Hat-trick

This type includes fun variations because to score a Gordie Howe hat trick, a player has to achieve a goal, register an assist, and get into a fight during a single game.

Fun Fact About Hat-Tricks in ice hockey

Gordie Howe, an offensive player this penalty is named after, only scored two hat-tricks in his whole career. However, the original Gordie Howe hat-trick was recorded by Harry Cameron way before the former’s time. Harry Cameron was a player for the Toronto St. Pats.

It’s worth mentioning that fans have formed second double and triple Gordie Howe hat-tricks, double when two players score goals, give assists and fight as well in a single game.

Hat-Trick Stats in Ice Hockey 

Fastest Hat-trick

If we talk about the all-time fastest hat trick, Bill Mosienko’s name comes on top of the list. Chicago Blackhawks player recorded a 21-second hat-trick against the New York Rangers on March 23, 1952.

The recent fastest hat trick was scored in 2018 by Tampa Bay Lightning’s player Brayden Point in 91 seconds (natural hat trick).

Most Hat-tricks

In terms of the most hat tricks, Wayne Gretzky is the name on top. Great Wayne Gretzky scored 50 hat tricks in his fantastic career, with Mario Lemieux and Mike Bossy at second and third on the list with 40 and 39 hat tricks, respectively.

In addition, these three players also top another list; most hat-tricks in one season, with 10, 9, and 9, respectively.


Were you unaware or used to thinking otherwise? After reading this article by cleats hub, you must have learned much about the origin, different varieties, and some interesting, unknown stats.

Similar Posts