Hockey Hat Tricks, and Name-bar Hack-Jobs.
Scoring three goals in a hockey game is hard to do. At some point around 1950, a couple of hat stores started offering local players a brand new cap as a reward for accomplishing the feat (a big score in those days, no pun intended [but presented]). Hey, it’s the least they could’ve done. And so, the term, “hat trick,” was born.
Somewhere along the line, fans started throwing their own hats on the ice when a player recorded a hat trick. Maybe the hat stores had gone out of business for giving away too many hats, maybe stores were being taken advantage of by players claiming they scored 3 and demanding a new hat, or maybe people just wanted to offer their own reward for what they perceived as greatness. Whatever the reason, fans took the tradition on themselves as a collective, and rinks of today are generally flooded with hats when a player notches the trifecta.
As nice of a traditional gesture as this is, here’s the thing. Today’s NHL players are millionaires, and can afford their own hats; as opposed to the NHL players of the 1950’s. At that level, the likelihood of them ever wearing your hat in gratitude is absolute zero. So if you just went out and bought a brand new Starter cap for your piggy bank’s ransom; one that you love of your favourite team and that fits perfectly, and your favourite player on your favourite team scores his third of the game, and you get the urge to chuck it on the ice in commendation, remember this: he’s not touching or wearing it, and you’re not getting it back. Your tattered, sweat-stained, beat up old Yankees hat is also going straight in the garbage. Harsh I know, but tough love, right?
Does anyone know what actually happens to all the hats that are collected by the rink staff?
Anyone who has played team sports in their lifetime likely had at least one team with jerseys that displayed their last name across their back from shoulder to shoulder. This was likely machine or hand stitched by an accommodating parent (probably a mom). It’s a classy look. But at least one of you players played on one team that had an extremely benevolent, but equally oblivious parent who sewed the wrong colored name-bar on the wrong colored jersey. It was atrocious, and embarrassing to be teammates with the kid with the bungled up jersey. It reflected badly on the player, the parent, the team, and to an extent, made the home association look rather bush-league.
I present to you, the current Philadelphia Flyers of the N-H-freaking-L’s jerseys:
Orange on orange, white on white, black on black. Just not that hard, is it?