December 03, 2007

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick

Most fans know that a hat trick in hockey is when one player scores three goals in a single game. Proper etiquette suggests you are then supposed to throw your hat on to the ice as a show of respect. Then pretty girls skate out and collect the head wear. Occasionally tubby guys waddle out in street shoes.

There is a popular though informal variation of the hat trick, known as the "Gordie Howe hat trick" That is accomplished when a player scores one goal, one assist and gets into one fight, all in the same game.

The origins of the name "Gordie Howe hat trick" remain a mystery, but it appears to be a way of honouring the great Howe. The term seems to have originated long after Howe retired.

Howe was so proficient at every aspect of the game, be it goal scoring, play making or physical play, that the rare goal-assist-fight combo was given his name in tribute.

However legend has it that only on one occasion did Gordie Howe score a Gordie Howe hat trick. That came on December 22nd 1955 against the Boston Bruins. When FHM Magazine asked him how many he had, Howe replied "Quite a few. I had a temper."

According to the December 4th, 2007 issue of The Hockey News no statistics were ever kept on all time Gordie Howe hat tricks up until the 1996-97 season. The only way to determine how many tricks "Mr. Hockey" actually had would be to comb through about 2200 NHL/WHA game summaries in search of the truth. Now unless someone has a lot of time on their hands, or is willing to pay me for my lost wages, we'll likely never know just how many Gordie Howe hat tricks Gordie Howe actually had.

THN did publish their data since '96-'97 of Gordie Howe hat trick leaders. Here's a look, with no surprise on the top:

Brendan Shanahan 9
Keith Tkachuk 5
Jarome Iginla 5
Brendan Morrow 5
Sean Avery 4
Joe Thornton 3
Shane Doan 3
Vincent Lecavalier 3
Bill Guerin 3


KP said...

According to Wikipedia (questionable as to whether it can be considered 100% accurate) Gordie Howe had only 1 Gordie Howe hat trick during his career.

This could actually be accurate, if you can consider Gordie rarely had more than 100 PIM in a season.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that the original blog entry mentions that the term originated "long after Howe retired" or some such thing. Truth is, it was yet another typical EPSN-esque attempt at being "in" on something that the utterer probably otherwise knew absolutely nothing about, which ended up being force-fed down the audience's throats just like everything else that that sh1t broadcaster comes up with. I played and followed professional hockey for forty years before I had ever heard of the stupid term, which in truth takes away from Howe's obvious scoring talent, and his willingness to play to win, unlike the visor-wearing primadonnas playing today. And KP is right in that Howe rarely collected 100 PM's, mainly because back then, if two guys fought, they didn't take fifteen minutes to figure out who would get the "instigator", and who would get "misconducts", and so on. You know who *never* had 100 in his career, despite being a top enforcer (and talented enough player) in his time? Clark Gillies. Hard to believe; like I said, nowdays, if two guys look at each other funny (likely the only guy on each roster who is "elected" to fight, during which the Europeans can take their cigarette breaks, perhaps), it's seventeen minutes each in the box. A joke.

Anonymous said...

to KP,
"According to wikipedia,,,"? If you look at that references for that site, they cited this page as where they got their information for...

Anonymous said...

I can't believe I lost 3 minutes of my life reading who cares's pathetic comment...

I suppose you fight a lot and enjoy a puck in the eye once in a while since using a visor is so g*y.. I suppose all goalies are w*ssys as well for wearing a mask?

Or maybe you haven't tried skating in front of the net when a 100+ mph puck is coming your way?

Anonymous said...

wikipedia says gordie had 2 in his career not 1

Anonymous said...

Honestly, Who Cares, I haven't seen an instigator penalty called since 2009. The guys drop the gloves, serve their five and then go to the bench> i do agree that the fights are choreogrphed way too much these days, though...
Also, I can't agree that the phrase "Gordie Howe Hat Trick" takes anything away from what Gordie was. If anything, it reinforces the idea that he was able to do anything.