In hockey, like in everything else, there's a first time for everything and players remember some of those like it was yesterday.
No amount of time will guarantee a trick and for these players, it was a milestone that they won't soon forget. Players talk about their experience.
Left wing, 3 hat tricks
TEAM: Vancouver Canucks
FIRST GAME: February 24, 2004 vs. Detroit Red Wings
GOALIE: Manny Legace
SCORE: 4-2 W
It was just 12 days ago that Daniel Sedin notched the third hat trick of his NHL career and while that was special, nothing beats that first one.
He was just 23 and in his fourth NHL season playing on a line with brother, Henrik and Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel achieved a notable milestone in his career with his hat trick - in fact, Daniel scored four goals that game.
“If you don't get more confidence from this, I don't know when you'll get confidence,'' he said post-game against the Detroit Red Wings in 2004.
True to form, Daniel remains humble about the event.
“During the game, I don’t think that much about it but after the game and now looking back, it’s pretty big to get three goals in one game.”
“Seeing the hats come down, it was the first time it’s happened to me so it was nice. It’s a special feeling but during the game you don’t really think about it that much - it’s more after.”
The other hat trick came on February 6, 2007 in Edmonton against the Oilers, where Daniel registered five points (3-2-5) in a 5-2 Canucks win.
Keepsake: I’ve got the puck somewhere in my house. The trainers took care of it - they were really good, it’s labeled with the team, date, and everything.
Left Wing, 1 hat trick
TEAM: Vancouver Canucks
GAME: March 27, 2006 vs. Los Angeles Kings
GOALIE: Mathieu Garon
SCORE: 7-4 W
Replay the trick
By now, everyone knows Alex Burrows’ story of hard work and perseverance to get into the NHL.
During the lockout season in 2004-05, Burrows made an impression with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL and earned a contract with the Canucks in 2005. He got his chance with club when he was recalled in January of 2005 upon injuries to the team.
He had four goals in the first 12 games with the Canucks but had gone 21 games without a goal before notching his first three-goal effort, scoring two in the second period and one in third.
“The first one [Todd Bertuzzi] made a great play behind the net and then gave it to me in front, where I was able to one-time it in the corner. The second one just went in from a point shot and I got the rebound, five hole on Mathieu Garon.”
He finished the season with seven goals but not without a little bit of controversy from teammate, Ryan Kesler, who was also on the ice for Burrows’ spotlight moment.
“The third goal, I still don’t know if it really touched me. I know Kes likes to remind me it’s called a fake trick.”
“I went to the net and he went around the net and threw it in front but we still don’t know if it went off me because we were really battling in front and found its way to the back of the net. The first thing when we got out of the pile, I told Kes, ‘I don’t think it hit me’, it’s your goal but they announced it my goal and they kept it that way. So I think that’s why he’s still jealous I got a hat trick.”
Kesler can continue to call it a fake trick but this one’s for the record books and it is permanently written in the stats and they just don’t lie. Years later, the stats will still list that day as a three-goal game for Burrows and Kesler still gets credit for that assist.
And as for the rain of hats?
“I don’t even remember if there were a lot of hats. But I know there were some hats because Kes was still bugging me about the fake trick so he put all the hats in my stall and the next day, I opened the locker and all the hats were there. He thought it was pretty funny.”
Burrows became the fifth player in team history to notch a hat trick as a rookie.
Keepsake: I still have the hat trick puck somewhere in my garage back home in Montreal. The white tape’s all black now and I can’t really see the writing on it anymore.
Right wing, 1 hat trick
TEAM: Toronto Maple Leafs
FIRST GAME: December 16, 2006 vs. New York Rangers
GOALIE: Henrik Lundqvist
SCORE: 9-2 W
Replay the trick
When Kyle Wellwood scores a goal, it’s usually one for the highlight reel so when he scores three times, it’s something to talk about.
In his sophomore season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing with the likes of Mats Sundin, Darcy Tucker, and Alexei Ponikarovsky, Wellwood took the lead and scored his first hat trick.
“I had a one timer slap shot goal on the powerplay for my second one. I can’t remember my first one.”
“I think I got two goals in the first period and on the hat trick goal, Sundin went to the net and the puck just lay there and I was just able to put into the net.”
“It was kind of one of those games where the puck was around me in the right spots and I was able to put it in. It was kind of just a lucky game, really.”
It was a lopsided game in favour of the Leafs but no matter the outcome or circumstance of the game, three goals in one game is an accomplishment and definitely very impressive.
He hasn’t recorded his second hat trick yet but the season isn’t even half finished and Wellwood is only 26 so there’s plenty of scoring left for him.
“It’s fun seeing the hats come down to the ice for me. It’s a pretty hard thing to do, it doesn’t happen that frequently in your career - if you get it three times, it’s considered really good - so to get one is pretty special.”
“Whenever a guy gets a hat trick, guys are extra excited and I remember how much fun that night was.”
Keepsake: They took my hat trick puck and put it in a plaque for me and I still have that. My mom keeps it at home for me back in Ontario.
Defenceman, 1 hat trick
TEAM: Ottawa Senators
FIRST GAME: March 30, 1999 at Pittsburgh Penguins
GOALIE: Peter Skudra
SCORE: 6-4 W
Hat tricks aren’t easy to come by and a scan of most rosters will tell you that there are usually just a handful of players that have that ticked off on their list of achievements. But what’s even more rare are defencemen with three-goal efforts in one game.
Sami Salo did just that as a rookie for the Ottawa Senators in 1999, when he notched three goals against a Pittsburgh Penguins team with Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux.
“I was in Ottawa playing against Jagr and Lemieux and it was obviously a big thrill to score a hat trick.”
“Two were slap shots and the last one I blocked a shot from Jagr and got a breakaway on an empty net and I passed it to Andreas Dackell to shoot at the empty net but he gave it back to me.”
Salo finished that year with seven goals - second most goals amongst rookie blueliners that year behind Pavel Kubina and 18th in total scoring amongst all rookies.
Keepsake: I think I had something made with the third puck that has the game sheet with it. It’s pretty cool.
It’s in a box in the garage in our basement. We still haven’t opened some of the boxes when we moved here, when I got traded. Eventually when I move back to Finland, it’ll have a nice place to go.