Ever notice the apprehension of a winning team to touch the conference championship trophy? Have you wondered where hooked sticks came from? Who coined the term hat trick, and did anyone win a hat? We’re breaking down a few of hockey’s urban legends and setting the record straight.
1. Gordie Howe Hat Trick
There are a couple of stories about the origin of the hat trick. According to the Hockey Hall of Fame, it was Alex Kaleta of the Blackhawks who was offered a hat by a salesman in Toronto if he scored three goals at the game that night against the Maple Leafs. Another tells the story of the hat store, Henri Henri offering up free hats to any player who scored three goals with a hat.
Truth be told, the term “Hat Trick” didn’t originate in hockey at all. The first use of hat trick, according to the Extended Oxford English Dictionary, was a result of a game of CRICKET,
History lesson on the hat trick aside, we are talking about The Gordie Howe Hat Trick, which is a variation on the hat trick, wherein a player scores a goal, records an assist, and gets in a fight all in one game. It is named after Gordie Howe, well known for his skill at both scoring and fighting.
2. The Canadien Habitant
Legend says that the “H” on the Montreal Canadiens jerseys stand for “Les Habitants” after the French settlers of Quebec. Montreal’s Quebec’s largest city, so it makes sense. And that’s why they were given the nickname “Habs,” right?
NOPE. It was the owner of Madison Square Garden, (American) Tex Rickard who first told a reporter that the “H” stood for Habitants. It spread, it stuck, and then the nickname was developed. The letters really stand for “Club de Hockey Canadien”
3. The Hockey Hall of Ghosts
Before the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame was the home of the Stanley Cup and held the largest collection of hockey memorabilia in the world, it held big stacks of cash as a bank. Legend has it that 19-year-old Dorothy, who was a teller at the bank, was involved in a love affair. After things went wrong, she shot herself in the 2nd floor bathroom. Now, visitors of the hall will sometimes hear mysterious footsteps, and scary noises…some have even reported that they sensed a pat on the shoulder,
The Toronto Star reports the back story as true, The question is: do you believe in ghosts?
4. The Curse of the Trophy
Another urban legend in hockey is that touching the respective conference championship trophies is bad luck. Each spring, when each conference championship is decided, the debate begins whether or not the captain will touch the trophy.
Some Captains aren’t superstitious and will go right ahead. Others won’t go near it, and will admire it from a distance.
5. Hooked Blades are the Result of a Hockey Mishap
Legend has it that Stosh once broke a blade while practicing, and while someone was off to fetch another, he continued to hit pucks out of frustration with the broken stick. Mikita saw the puck sail through the air after being shot with the crooked blade, and began using crooked blades.
Now, there are regulations as to how crooked a stick can be. Cause this legend is TRUE.
6. A Goalie that Gags before every Game
Here’s another legend that’s true. Glenn Hall of the Chicago Blackhawks would get so nervous before his start that he would vomit. The Blackhawks kept a bucket behind the bench “just in case”.
7. Gretzky doesn’t like to look Sloppy
Known as “The Great One,” Gretzky is the only player who is known to tuck his sweater in. But it’s not because he just wants to look tidy. When his hockey career began, he was better than the others his age and would play against players who were three and four years older than him. The sweaters couldn’t quite fit, so he’d tuck them in rather than trip.
8. The Great One has his Rituals
Rumor has it that “The Great One” would drink a series of beverages before every game: first a Diet Coke, then an ice water, a Gatorade and another Diet Coke.
But, that’s not all. He won’t get a haircut on the road. His first shot taken is to the extreme right of the goal. He put baby powder on the blade of his stick. He put his equipment on in a specific order.
Hey, whatever works?
9. TV Station Hold Up in the Name of Hockey
This one’s too crazy to be true, right? Legend has it that the father of an NHL star held up a local television station so they would play his son’s game, rather than that of a more local team. The station obliged, but it led to a shootout with police outside of the station, resulting in the father’s death.
Sadly, this is the true story of Brian Spencer’s father, Roy.
10. There’s Something Hidden in the Ice
During the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, there was indeed something in the ice: a one dollar coin. When the women won gold, they kissed it. When the men did, Gretzky dug the coin out of the ice and sent it to the Hockey Hall of Fame.