Hat trick hats?

Where do the hats go that are thrown onto the ice after a hat trick?

Yeah, I wonder about this too. I’ve always thought, gee, I’d like to celebrate hat tricks by throwing my hat on the ice… but… I’d also like not to lose my hat.

Then one day when I was watching the Leafs play the Canadiens, a thought struck me: You could probably get it back. I mean, what do you think the arena personnel do with all the hats? Throw them out? Steal them? You gotta figure they hold on to them for at least a couple of hours. I bet if, after the game, you went to an appropriate place in the arena and said, “I would like to get my hat back”, they’d have it and you could get it.
Anyone work at a hockey rink?

Do people actually throw their hats onto the ice when a hat trick occurs? I figured it the name came more from the “throwing your hat into the air” (and presumably, catching it afterwards) celebratory phenomenon. I could understand if you were a huge hockey fan, and it was a game-making play, but i dunno.

I’m not sure, but i think all the hats are collected, and after the game, are given to the player who got the hat trick. Hat tricks don’t occur very often, and i’m sure the scoring player would like to have a box full of hats as a sort of trophy for the amazing job he did on the ice.

I thought the origin of the hat trick came from the game of cricket. When a bowler got three batsmen out in succession then a hat was passed round the spectators so that a money collection could be made for the bowler. Any other origins that can be suggested ?.

I guess you have never been to a hockey game, after a hat trick there are (usually) hundreds of hats on the ice, the game has to be halted so they can be cleared off.

I have friends who bring an old hat just in case, so they don’t have to throw the one they are wearing.

At least thats the way it is here in Boston, maybe people don’t get that excited in other places.

Everything I’ve seen agrees that it originated with cricket. You find slightly different variants of what was done with the hat. From http://www.wordorigins.org:

Of course, many of us know that Flashman scored one, which may have been the first recorded case of the term being used, as duly noted by George MacDonald Fraser.

As for hockey, I believe they do give a bunch of them to the player scoring the hat trick. I think other people close to the ice may wind up with them as souvenirs as well.

Wayne Gretzky has the NHL record for hat tricks with 49, which must mean he has one hellacious hat collection at home.

Wouldn’t you think that somebody would just give the hats away to a charity? I’ve often seen homeless people in Downtown L.A. all sporting obsolete caps. The old Milwaukee Brewer caps where the M and B were made into a baseball mitt was quite popular at one point.

My understanding is that the hats are given to the hat-tricker, though I’m sure a few fall by the wayside. I also understand a lot of the hats end up being donated to charities. (You can only use so many hats, after all.)

Every once in awhile there is more than one hat trick in a game. I assume the second player gets kinda screwed in terms of hat volume.

What’s a “hat trick”?


Three goals scored by one played in a hockey game is the most common parlance in North America. I’ve seen it used in soccer, but it’s much harder to do in that sport.

Some say it must be three goals in succession by one player with no other goals by any other player. I’ve also heard this referred to as a “natural hat trick”.


A hat trick in cricket is three wickets in an over, not three balls. For a point of reference, one-day cricket is limited to 50 overs (and ten wickets per innings, like test cricket), so to take three wickets in one over is a tremendous feat.

My impression, though it’s not backed up by statistics, is that it’s not that uncommon in the English league (~90 teams) for there to be about one hat-trick a week.

A few years ago in Buffalo, there was a push for people to bring new hats to Sabres games (winter-type hats, not baseball caps). If there was a hat trick, you could throw them on the ice, and if not, there were bins in which you would leave the hat. The collected hats were given to charity (the Buffalo City Mission, IIRC). This seems like a good idea, and goodness knows homeless people could use warm hats in winter in Buffalo.

Why don’t you Ask Jeeves?

Check out the results of similar questions. :smiley:

I thought a “natural” hat trick was 3 goals scored at full force, nobody in the penalty box…

A hat trick in cricket is three wickets in three balls by the same bowler. It doesn’t have to be in the same over or even in the same innings. It is a very rare feat (which is why I’m pretty stoked to have seen one): in the 1529 Test matches (the serious version of the game – a five day international match) only 28 hat tricks have been achieved. You can see a full list at http://www.cricinfo.com/link_to_database/STATS/TESTS/BOWLING/TEST_HAT-TRICKS.html There have been 13 in the 1691 ODIs too if you care for such things.

This might be wrong reasoning but could the “tri” in trick have anything to do with the number three- ie “triple”. This could have been corrupted over time .If not why “trick”?

Ok, we’re getting away from the question here…where do the hats go???

It’s always a good idea to check the search engine before posting a question, to see if it’s been asked before. Doesn’t always work, but sometimes.

In this case, as you can read here, I asked this very question last year.

And never got a satisfactory answer, so it doesn’t help at all.