When a hockey player scores three goals in a game, fans toss their hats to the ice in appreciation of what is known as a “hat trick.” Before losing to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Leon Draisaitl scored a hat trick in Game 6.
The Oilers had made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, and there were a lot of fans waiting for an epic moment like a playoff game hat trick. Over 1,000 hats were thrown on the ice at Rogers Place by the jubilant fans.
The executive director of the Oilers Foundation, Natalie Mickler, told the CBC, "I think that was the most hats we've seen. We have celebrated hat tricks with some of our players in the past. I think last night was certainly something we'll remember for a very long time."
NHL teams have different protocol for such instances. Some have ways of returning the hats to the fans, some feature them in displays in their arena, and others give them to charity. The Oilers regularly donate their hat-trick hats, and that’s exactly what happened with this colossal cap haul.
After the Bissell Centre tweeted that the homeless population could use the hats, the Oilers Entertainment Group responded -- delivering 800 hats to the Bissell Centre, Hope Mission, and Operation Friendship, who distributed them to those in need of some extra warmth in the cold weather. It was also a chance for Oilers fans that are down on their luck to sport some gear they can’t afford.
Most importantly, all of Oilers Nation was able to bond through one of hockey’s most unique celebrations.The playoffs may be over for the Oilers, but they’ll have a lot more fans wearing orange and blue next season.
Darren Brennan, a spokesperson for the Bissell Centre, told the CBC, "It's connecting the celebration of the playoffs to the people of the inner city who may not feel included in that. It's a great symbol in how we are all the same."
Watch the video to see how a hat trick spread from the stadium to the city.