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March 24, 2009

Hat Trick Origins

This is Alex Kaleta, born in Canmore, Alberta. He is of no relation for current player Patrick Kaleta of Angola, New York, but he is closely related to the origins of the term hat trick in hockey.

Well, maybe.

Legend has it that while in Toronto for a game with the Leafs, Kaleta stopped in tailor Sammy Taft's shop looking for some head wear. He did not have enough money to buy the hat he wanted, so Taft made him a deal. If he scored three times in the game, he would give him the hat. Kaleta responded with not just three goals, but four!

A tradition was born. Taft gave Kaleta his hat and would reward other players thereafter, Leafs or otherwise, for scoring three goals in a game - a hat trick - at Maple Leaf Gardens.

That is the one of the most popular myths behind the origins of the term hat trick in hockey. But not the only one.

Janet McLeod recently looked at the hat trick's place in the hockey lexicon for the Guelph Mercury newspaper. She looks at the Kaleta story and others, as well as the real origin of the term in the sport.

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