Hockey Lessons For n00bz: Hat Tricks Part I

DC Sports Nexus ---- Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Sticky Wicket:

The scene was the cricket pitch of Sheffield, England 1858. The round-arm right-arm fast bowler Heathfield Harmon Stephenson wowed onlookers as he took three wickets in 3 consecutive balls. (I think that is kind of like striking out three batters in a row.) As was tradition, such an amazing feat was cause to pass around a hat and collect money for Stephenson for his efforts. The money was either given to HH who bought a hat with it, or the money was used to buy a hat for HH. This was not the first time the feat happened, but it was the first time a hat was involved and the Hat Trick was born.

A Hat Trick Myth?

Back in 1946 the Chicago Blackhawks were in Toronto for a game against the Maple Leafs. Alex Kaleta (not the headbutter), a Blackhawks player, went into a local shop to buy himself a hat. He saw some sweet hat, but he didn't have the funds to buy it. The owner of the shop made a deal with him. If Kaleta would score a hat trick, he would give him a hat. Well of course Alex scored 4 goals that night, and got his awesome hat. After that day, the next part below continues the story.

The Hockey Hall of Fame Explanation:

According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, that Toronto shop owner used the concept of scoring 3 times in a game to promote his hats. To do this he would give any player a free hat if they accomplished the already defined by Cricket hat trick. They don't mention Kaleta starting it, but who knows.

A Branded Hat Company Claims They Popularized The Hat Trick:

Ontario's Biltmore Hats also claim they brought popularity to the hat trick in hockey. The company sponsored a local NY Rangers junior team and would give out hats to players who scored 3 goals. They even have a museum apparently.

It doesn't take a genius to realize if there is something called a "hat trick" and you run a hat store, you should use that for marketing in hockey cities.

But Wait, Who Started Throwing Hats On The Ice?

That wasn't a headline, it was a question. I guess it just naturally happened and nobody knows who started it? Does anybody know anything?

Stay tuned for part II of the hat trick discussion featuring Rat Tricks, Octopuses, and other crazy things.


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