TODAY -

Hat-trick and FIFA World Cups

Jadavchandra Haobam *



In sports, a hat-trick or hat trick means to achieve a positive feat three times during a game. For instance in association football or ice hockey a player might score three goals, whilst in cricket a bowler might take three wickets in three deliveries. The term was first used in cricket, to describe HH Stephenson's feat in 1858 and was used in print for the first time in 1878.

A hat trick, as it is known in its current form, culminates with fans throwing hats onto the ice from the stands. The tradition is said to have begun among fans in the National Hockey League around the 1950s.

According to the Henri Henri Hat Store in Montreal, before 1967 when there were six National Hockey League teams, the store rewarded players who had scored three goals or more in one game at the Montreal Forum with a free hat, which brought the "Hat Trick" expression into the world of hockey.

The earliest account of a hat being awarded for scoring three goals is known to have occurred in Toronto when a local businessman, Sammy Taft, was approached by the Chicago Black Hawks forward Alex Kaleta. According to legend, Kaleta entered Taft's shop to purchase a new hat but didn't have enough money. Taft arranged a deal with Kaleta stipulating that if Kaleta scored three goals as he played the Toronto Maple Leafs that night, he would give him a free hat. That night, on January 26, 1946, Kaleta scored four goals against the Maple Leafs and Taft made good on his offer.

While this account is credited by the Hockey Hall of Fame as the hat trick's origin in the National Hockey League, there exists a competing story in Guelph, Ontario. In the 1950s, the Guelph Biltmore Mad Hatters of the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA), who were then a farm team of the National Hockey League's New York Rangers, were sponsored by Guelph-based Biltmore Hats, a leading manufacturer of hats with North American dominance. The sponsor would award any Mad Hatters player who scored three goals in a game with a new fedora.

Variations : A natural hat trick (NHT) is when a player scores three goals in succession with no other players from either their own team, or the opposing team, scoring any goals in-between.

Association football : A hat-trick occurs in association football when a player has scored three goals in a single game. In common with other official record-keeping rules, goals in a penalty shootout are excluded from the tally. Jimmy O'Conner who played for Shelbourne in Éire has the quickest hat trick in history, scoring three goals in 2 min 13 sec.

There are several variations of the definition, including the "Flawless (or German) hat-trick", which differs in that the three goals must be scored consecutively within one period of play.

Another variaton is the "Perfect" or "Golden Hat-trick", in which the three goals are scored with the player's right foot, left foot and head. It has become traditional for the scorer of a hat-trick to claim the match ball as a personal souvenir of the feat.

James Hayter holds the record for the fastest English Football League hat-trick coming on as an 84th minute substitute for A.F.C. Bournemouth against Wrexham A.F.C. netting 3 goals in less than 140 seconds.

Robbie Fowler currently holds the fastest hat-trick in Premiership history by scoring 3 goals within 4 minutes and 33 seconds for Liverpool against Arsenal in 1994. Nigel Clough scored a hat-trick in exactly 4 minutes in the old First Division (the highest league in English football before the advent of the Premier League) for Nottingham Forest against Queens Park Rangers in the 1987-88 season.

In the FIFA World Cups, American Bert Patenaude scored the first hat-trick in the 1930 inaugural. Just Fontaine (1958) and Gerd Müller (1970) scored two hat-tricks in the same World Cup.

Gabriel Batistuta scored hat-tricks in two World Cups (1994 and 1998) Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick in the 1966 Final - the only one in a Final. At least one hat-trick has been scored in every World Cup Finals except the 2006 tournament.




* Jadavchandra Haobam wrote this article for Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on May 11th, 2010.


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