The proverbial hat trick is the unusual feat of scoring three consecutive goals within a single game, at least in some of our most common professional sports it is. Hockey, cricket and football refer to three points or goals achieved by a single player in a single game to be a hat trick. Accomplishing this is greatly revered by sports fan alike. However a hat trick in baseball is not something a player wants to achieve as this would mean that you have struck out at bat a total of three times within one game. Not good. As well, in basketball achieving a hat trick means that you have missed all three free throws that were awarded a player who was fouled during shooting from behind the three point arc. Not good. Then, to top it all off and make it all that much more confusing, there is the Gordie Howe hat trick. Gordie Howe is one of the most famous and respected hockey players in the history of hockey. To achieve a Gordie Howe hat trick you must score a goal, assist in a goal and participate in a fight, all within the same game. Whew.
We have now seen that there are various types of hat tricks. But where did the term come from? Interestingly, the term originated with the game of cricket. A hat trick in cricket is when one single player hits three wickets within one game. A wicket is essentially the goal area. In cricket a batsman protects three wooden poles that stand upright in his goal crease. These wooden poles are called wickets. The theory is that feat may have started out as a bet whereas a player would bet that he could achieve the three wicket strikes and the other players passed a hat around to collect money for the bet. Another theory, staying within the game of cricket, was that if a player (or bowler in cricket speak) achieved three wickets then they were awarded with a cap or hat. The very first hat trick recognized was in 1858 and was awarded to a famous English cricket player by the name of HH Stephenson.
Today the term hat trick is more commonly used within the game of hockey. Traditionally if a player realizes a hat trick then the fans throw their hats onto the rink as a show of respect and admiration for the player. The custom of throwing our hats on the rink started in Guelph, Ontario. The team's name was The Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters. Mr. Biltmore, sponsor of the team, would throw his top hat on the rink for any player that scored three goals in a single game. Fans followed this custom and it is still honored today.