One of the most exciting moments in a hockey game is when a player scores three goals in a game, known as a hat trick.
But what exactly is a natural hat trick?
A natural hat trick in hockey is when a player scores three consecutive goals in a single period of play, without any other player from either team scoring in between.
Below we look in more detail at the definition of a natural hat trick, its significance in the game, and some notable examples. So, let’s dive in!
Understanding the Hat Trick
Before we delve into the concept of a natural hat trick, it’s important to understand what a hat trick is in general.
In hockey, a hat trick refers to a player scoring three goals in a single game.
The term originated in the late 1800s when fans would throw their hats onto the ice to celebrate a player’s achievement.
Since then, the tradition of throwing hats onto the ice has become a symbolic gesture of appreciation for a player’s exceptional performance.
Defining the Natural Hat Trick
A natural hat trick is a specific type of hat trick that occurs when a player scores three consecutive goals in a single period of play, without any other player from either team scoring in between.
This means that the player scores three goals in a row, with no interruptions or breaks in their scoring streak.
The term “natural” is used to distinguish this type of hat trick from other types where there may be breaks in between goals.
For example, if a player scores two goals in the first period and then scores another goal in the third period, it would still be considered a hat trick, but not a natural hat trick.
The Significance of a Natural Hat Trick
A natural hat trick is considered a remarkable achievement in hockey.
It showcases a player’s exceptional skill, scoring ability, and dominance on the ice.
Scoring three goals in a row without any interruptions is no easy feat and requires a combination of talent, strategy, and a bit of luck.
When a player achieves a natural hat trick, it often energizes the team and the fans.
It can shift the momentum of the game and provide a significant advantage to the player’s team.
The player’s confidence also tends to soar, which can lead to even more scoring opportunities and an overall boost in team morale.
Notable Examples of Natural Hat Tricks
Over the years, there have been several memorable natural hat tricks in hockey history.
Let’s take a look at some notable examples:
- Wayne Gretzky: Widely regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time, Wayne Gretzky achieved numerous natural hat tricks throughout his career. One particularly impressive instance was during a game between the Edmonton Oilers and the St. Louis Blues in 1983. Gretzky scored three goals in a span of just 49 seconds. (Believe it or not, that’s actually not an NHL record. The NHL record for the fastest natural hat trick is 21 seconds, set by Bill Mosienko in 1952 for the Chicago Blackhawks.)
- Alex Ovechkin: Known for his powerful shot and goal-scoring prowess, Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals has also accomplished multiple natural hat tricks. In 2008, he scored three consecutive goals in less than four minutes during a game against the Boston Bruins.
- Mario Lemieux: Another legendary player, Mario Lemieux, achieved a natural hat trick during a game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Boston Bruins in 1992. He scored three goals in a span of just 4 minutes and 14 seconds.
These examples highlight the extraordinary skill and scoring ability of these players, solidifying their places in hockey history.
NHL: Natural Hat Tricks
Q&A – What Is a Natural Hat Trick in Hockey?
1. What is the difference between a hat trick and a natural hat trick?
A hat trick refers to a player scoring three goals in a single game, while a natural hat trick specifically refers to scoring three consecutive goals in a single period of play without any interruptions.
2. How rare is a natural hat trick?
Natural hat tricks are relatively rare in hockey.
They require a combination of skill, opportunity, and a bit of luck.
While many players have achieved regular hat tricks throughout history, natural hat tricks are less common.
3. Can a natural hat trick occur in overtime?
No, a natural hat trick cannot occur in overtime.
Overtime periods are considered separate from regular periods of play, so scoring three consecutive goals in overtime would not be considered a natural hat trick.
4. Can a natural hat trick be achieved by different players on the same team?
No, a natural hat trick can only be achieved by a single player.
It requires the same player to score three consecutive goals without any interruptions from other players on either team.
5. Is a natural hat trick more impressive than a regular hat trick?
While both types of hat tricks are impressive, a natural hat trick is often considered more remarkable.
Scoring three goals in a row without any interruptions showcases a player’s exceptional skill and dominance on the ice.
6. Has anyone ever scored more than three goals in a row?
While scoring three goals in a row is already an incredible achievement, there have been instances where players have scored more than three goals consecutively.
However, these instances are extremely rare and require exceptional skill and favorable circumstances.
7. Can a natural hat trick occur in international hockey?
Yes, a natural hat trick can occur in international hockey.
The concept of a natural hat trick applies to any level of hockey, whether it’s professional, collegiate, or international.
8. Are natural hat tricks recognized as official records?
Yes, natural hat tricks are recognized as official records in hockey.
They are often noted as a significant achievement in a player’s career and can contribute to their overall legacy in the sport.
9. How do natural hat tricks impact the outcome of a game?
Natural hat tricks can have a significant impact on the outcome of a game.
They often energize the player’s team and the fans, shifting the momentum in their favor.
The player’s confidence also tends to soar, leading to more scoring opportunities and an overall boost in team morale.
10. Are there any other types of hat tricks in hockey?
Yes, there are other types of hat tricks in hockey.
For example, a Gordie Howe hat trick refers to a player scoring a goal, recording an assist, and getting into a fight all in the same game.
This type of hat trick is named after the legendary player Gordie Howe.
A natural hat trick in hockey occurs when a player scores three consecutive goals in a single period of play without any interruptions.
It is a remarkable achievement that showcases a player’s exceptional skill and dominance on the ice.
Natural hat tricks have the power to energize teams and fans, shifting the momentum of the game.
While relatively rare, they leave a lasting impact on the sport and contribute to a player’s legacy.