As defined, a hat trick in ice hockey is three goals scored by one player in one game. Hat tricks can also occur in soccer. In baseball, a hat trick is a series of a base-hit, a two base-hit, a three-base hit and a home run achieved in any order by one player in one game. Ice hockey fans customarily throw their hats onto the ice to show appreciation to the player scoring the hat trick. For more history of the hat trick, see the "About" web page.
Being an avid Penguins fan, I had always wondered what happened to the hats thrown at hat tricks (as did many other people). After doing some investigation I learned that most of the hats were thrown away after the game due to health concerns. I wanted to tie my love of hockey into my Eagle Project, and collecting and distributing these discarded hats seemed like a perfect way to accomplish this; as well as helping less fortunate people and the environment in the process.
After a hat trick is scored, the janitorial staff at the arena shovels the hats into bags. The bags are then saved in a special room at the rink until arrangements are made for me to pick up the hats, usually within three days of the hat trick.
We've received several strange hats. A straw safari hat, a pink cowboy hat, and a "Budapest Drinking Team" hat are currently the top three. There was also a "Hooters" hat that was autographed by more than ten waitresses.
Oftentimes we get water bottles, programs, and other trash. Once we found a belt, and we've even received a single black leather men's shoe. Fans often bundle a water bottle or program inside their hats to make them travel farther when thrown. Last December, Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick on the day before Christmas Eve, which was the Penguins "Stocking Giveaway" night. That night there were 243 Christmas stockings and 17 Santa hats thrown.
I have a lot of help from my Boy Scout Troop 830 of Clinton, Pennsylvania. Without the Adult Leaders and fellow Boy Scouts, Hat Tricks 4 Humanity wouldn't be where it is today.
The hats that are collected are washed at the local Laundry Mat in our town, with the help of Boy Scout volunteers, leaders and some parents.
We generally have a wash party within a week or two of a hat trick. The hats need attention right away since when they are shoveled into the bags by the janitorial staff, ice shavings are shoveled into the bags also. The combination of the plastic bags and the moisture inside will lead to disastrous consequences if not washed soon.
No. Everything used in Hat Tricks 4 Humanity is donated by generous individuals and businesses.
Very carefully. First we treat the stains and inside with stain remover. During this process we examine the hats for any tags or cardboard inserts within the hat. If we accidentally leave a cardboard insert in the hat during the wash cycle, it will disintegrate and become "lint" on all the hats...thus requiring another wash cycle. Then we sort them by color, and wash in hot water using a secret mix of detergent and borax.
About $40 per laundry mat session. Equate that into quarters, and that's a lot of change!
Absolutely. We try to save all the hats we can, but there are some that are way too far gone.
Yes, I actually did meet Sidney Crosby by accident when he was coming out of his practice. We had a conversation about my Eagle Project. Sidney said he was glad the hats were going to good use. Before he got into his vehicle, he said "I'll try and get some more hats for you!" It was great to meet him.
The largest tally was from Sidney Crosby's hat trick on Hat Giveaway night on November 28, 2009. There were 1,382 hats thrown, and they filled 12 overstuffed garbage bags.
Although it is not a science, historically there have been between three and six hat tricks per team per season.
Yes. I actually want to keep going with the project until college. Then, I'll probably hand it over to someone who could continue with it.
The winner of that category would be Afghanistan, where 200 members of our troops being deployed are enjoying Pittsburgh sport team hats.
Yes. My community has been very supportive. I passed out letters to my neighbors last summer during the Penguins off-season explaining my project. I emailed our family's hockey friends too. Even my dentist posted a letter at her office explaining my cause. I received several hundred hats through these sources. After my interview on Penguins Online TV and ESPN, I got emails from people all over the country offering to mail hats to me. I partnered with my school's National Honors Society to run a "Hat Drive" and we brought in 850 hats. The individual class collecting the most hats won a free breakfast!
My school team's hockey coach, Tony Franzetta, works for a company called Vision Creative, in Sewickley PA. He and his company offered to donate this web site design to help my project. In the process I met with Drew Nelson; their web-designer, and executives at their office to plan the web site and its content. I never imagined I would have an experience like this when I started this Hat Trick project!
That remains to be seen. You never know what opportunities will present themselves. I never thought I'd make it to ESPN!
This "My First Penguin's Cap" was thrown at Sydney Crosby's 12/29/2010 Hat Trick that was subsequently recalled when it was determined that the third goal was tipped into the net by Matt Cooke's stick. Although the Hat Trick was recalled, approximately 125 hats were tossed onto the ice in celebration!
Operation Troop Appreciation
"Thank you to Kristen Holloway Querriera, for providing us the means to give hats to soldiers being deployed from the Pittsburgh area. We hope the hats affirm your mission, "To build and sustain the morale of deployed troops, enabling them to complete their missions with the assurance that the American public supports and appreciates their selfless service and daily sacrifices."
- Mike Behme
Vision Creative For creating this website. Visit their site here.