Where Did the Term Hat Trick Originate?

The NHL season is currently hanging in the balance, as the league attempts to establish protocols, as well as a date, that will allow players to safely return to the ice amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Therefore, it’s a good time to learn the origin of a popular sports term that hockey fans and players alike often hear: hat-trick, when a player scores three goals in a game. It’s also used in soccer and lacrosse. 

But how did the phrase hat-trick come into existence? 

The term actually comes from the sport of cricket–a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players–the second most popular sport in the world behind soccer (futbol).

A cricket batsman.

In 1858, a bowler (pitcher) by the name of H.H. Stephenson, took an amazing three wickets, the dismissal of a batsman, in a row. Stephenson’s feet impressed the spectators so much that they presented him with a hat, according to MentalFloss.com

The term hat-trick stuck and is often used to refer to when a player achieveves three outstanding accomplishments in one game, especially scoring three goals in a row.

However, it’s not to be confused with a natural hat-trick, when a player finds the back of the net three straight times. 

In ice hockey, when a member of the home team scores a hat-trick, fans celebrate it by tossing their own hats from the stands onto the ice, often causing a delay in play. 

— Jerry Del Priore 






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