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A hat-trick or hat trick is the achievement of a generally positive feat three times in a match, or another achievement based on the number three.[1]


The term first appeared in 1858 in cricket, to describe H. H. Stephenson taking three wickets with three consecutive deliveries. Fans held a collection for Stephenson, and presented him with a hat bought with the proceeds.[2][full ] The term was used in print for the first time in 1865 in the Chelmsford Chronicle.[3][non-primary source needed] The term was eventually adopted by many other sports including hockey, association football (soccer), Formula 1 racing, and water polo.


Association football

A hat-trick occurs in association football when a player scores three goals (not necessarily consecutive) in a single game, whereas scoring two goals constitutes a brace.[4][5] In common with other official record-keeping rules, all goals scored during the regulation 90 minutes, plus extra time if required, are counted but goals in a penalty shootout are excluded from the tally.[6] The fastest recorded time to score a hat-trick is 70 seconds, a record set by Alex Torr in a Sunday league game in 2013.[7] The previous record of 90 seconds was held by Tommy Ross playing for Ross County against Nairn County on 28 November 1964.[8] The record of the youngest player ever to score a hat-trick was set by Ntinos Pontikas in 1996,[9][10] while Pelé in 1958 became the youngest to achieve a treble in the World Cup.[11]

After just 18 months and 17 days, the book on the greatest hat-trick of the 21st century was already closed.

-- Rob Smyth of The Guardian on Rivaldo's hat-trick for Barcelona against Valencia in June 2001.[12]

The first hat-trick achieved in an international game was by Scottish player John McDougall, against England on 2 March 1878.[13] American player Bert Patenaude scored the first hat-trick in the FIFA World Cup, against Paraguay in the inaugural event in 1930. Two hat-tricks have been scored in a World Cup final, by Geoff Hurst for England in the 1966 final during extra time against West Germany,[14] and Carli Lloyd for the USA against Japan in the 2015 Women's World Cup final. Lloyd's was the fastest hat-trick scored in a World Cup final at 13 minutes from first to last goal, and at 16 minutes the fastest from kickoff in any World Cup match. However, the fastest World Cup hat-trick, as measured by time between goals, belongs to Fabienne Humm of Switzerland, who scored in the 47th, 49th and 52nd minutes against Ecuador in the 2015 group stage.

Traditionally, a player who scores a hat-trick is allowed to keep the match ball as a memento.[15]

Perfect hat-trick

Football has also extended the term, with a "perfect hat-trick" being when a player scores one right-footed goal, one left-footed goal and one headed goal within one match.[16][17][18] In Germany and Austria, the term (lupenreiner) Hattrick ("flawless hat-trick") refers to when a player scores three goals in a row in one half without the half-time break or a goal scored by another player interrupting the performance.[19]


In the past, the term was occasionally used to describe when a player struck out three times in a baseball game, and the term golden sombrero was more commonly used when a player struck out four times in a game.

In recent years, hat trick has been more often used to describe when a player hits three home runs in a game.

For example, on 29 August 2015, Toronto Blue Jays fans celebrated Edwin Encarnación's third home run of the game by throwing hats onto the field, similar to the tradition in ice hockey.[20]


A hat-trick occurs in cricket when a bowler takes three wickets with consecutive deliveries.

Gaelic football

In Gaelic football, a hat-trick can refer to goals or to points scored.

Eoin Liston scored a second-half hat-trick in the 1978 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final.[21]

Michael Quinlivan scored a second-half hat-trick against Armagh in the final game of the 2017 National Football League to secure promotion to Division 2 for Tipperary.[22][23]

Jack McCaffrey's total of 1-3 in the 2019 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final (drawn game) involved a "classic hat-trick" of points, sent over the bar with fist and both feet.[24]

Cillian O'Connor's four goals (accompanied by nine points) in the 2020 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship semi-final at Croke Park broke the 5-3 record set by Johnny Joyce of Dublin in 1960 and matched with 3-9 by Rory Gallagher of Fermanagh in 2002 for the highest individual scorer in any championship football match.[25][26]

David Clifford scored a hat-trick against Galway in the opening round of the 2021 National Football League.[27]


In handball, if a player scores three times in a game, a hat-trick is made.


Hats on the Verizon Center ice after Alex Ovechkin's hat trick, 7 February 2010

In field hockey and ice hockey, a hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals in a single game. A hat trick in ice hockey, 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,[28] with several conflicting legends from the Canadian cities of Toronto, Montreal, and Guelph of various hatmakers offering a free hat to players who scored a hat trick.[29][30][31][32]

In 1944 the Winnipeg Free Press (29 November 1944, p. 14)[full ] reported that "hockey's traditional 'hat-trick' - the feat of scoring three goals in a single game - will receive official recognition from the Amateur Hockey Association" of the US by awarding a small silver derby hat to players to mark the accomplishment.

Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL record for the most hat tricks in a career with 50. Harry Hyland scored the league's first hat trick, in the league's first game on 18 December 1917, in which Hyland's Montreal Wanderers defeated the Toronto Arenas 10-9.[33]


In hockey a natural hat trick occurs when a player scores three consecutive goals, uninterrupted by any other player scoring for either team.[34] The NHL record for the fastest natural hat trick is 21 seconds, set by Bill Mosienko in 1952 for the Chicago Blackhawks.[35]

A Gordie Howe hat trick is a tongue-in-cheek play on the feat. It is achieved by scoring a goal, getting an assist, and getting into a fight, all in the same game. Namesake Gordie Howe himself only recorded two in his NHL career. Rick Tocchet accomplished the feat 18 times in his career, the most in NHL history.[36]

In October 1995, Florida Panthers captain Scott Mellanby scored a rat trick, the term coined by teammate John Vanbiesbrouck. Prior to the game, Mellanby killed a rat in the Panthers' locker room with his hockey stick, and proceeded to score a pair of goals later that night.[37] When Mellanby scored a hat trick in a later game, some Florida fans threw plastic rats on the ice, a tradition that continued for all Panthers' goals throughout the 1996 playoffs. Due to the resulting game delays caused by the necessary clean-up of the plastic rats, the league eventually banned the activity and modified Rule 63 to impose a minor penalty against the home team for a violation.[38] The more traditional practice of fans throwing hats on the ice following genuine hat tricks remains exempt from this penalty.


A hat-trick in lacrosse is when a player scores three goals in one game.

Motor racing

In motor racing, three successive race wins, winning the same event three times in a row, or securing pole position, fastest lap and race victory in one event may all be referred to as a hat-trick.

Rugby football

In both codes of rugby football (rugby union and rugby league) a hat-trick is when a player scores three or more tries in a game. In rugby union, a related concept is that of a "full house" (scoring a try, conversion, penalty goal, and drop goal) in a single game. When a player scored two tries, this is often referred to as a brace. As with association football, it is common to award the match ball to a player who scores a hat-trick.

Ken Irvine and Frank Burge both scored 16 hat-tricks in Australian first grade rugby league.[39]

Shaun Johnson scored a hat-trick in under 6 minutes against the Canberra Raiders in 2013, and in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, Valentine Holmes scored a double hat-trick (6 tries) against Fiji.

Water polo

In water polo, if a player scores thrice in a game, a hat-trick is made.

See also


  1. ^ "hat trick". dictionary.cambridge.org. Cambridge Dictionary. Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ Extended Oxford English Dictionary 1999 Edition : "It came into use after HH Stephenson took three wickets in three balls for the all-England eleven against the twenty-two of Hallam at the Hyde Park ground, Sheffield in 1858. A collection was held for Stephenson (as was customary for outstanding feats by professionals) and he was presented with a cap or hat bought with the proceeds."
  3. ^ A report of a match between Grays and Romford in closed access Messner, Reinhold (23 June 1865). The Chelmsford Chronicle. ISBN 9781890009908. OCLC 866859233. OCLC 17645885, 702688846, 42349342. Mr Biddell...with his second ball bowled the Romford leviathan Mr Beauchamp and afterwards effected the hat-trick by getting three wickets in the over.
  4. ^ Soccer Definitions & Slang Terms soccer-training-info.com
  5. ^ "Brace" means two of a kind or a pair of something Harper Collins
  6. ^ Kicks from the penalty mark (aka penalty shootout) do not form part of the match. IFAB (July 2009). "Laws of the Game 2009/2010" (PDF). Zürich: FIFA. p. 130. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ Steve White (3 May 2013). "Sunday league footballer scores hat-trick in record-breaking 70 seconds". mirror. Retrieved 2015.
  8. ^ "Fastest time to score a hat-trick, Football". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ "The magical feeling of a hat-trick: from McDougall, Bican and Pelé to Lucijanic, Siri and Pontikas". 90soccer.com. 21 June 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  10. ^ "Ntinos Pontikas, the Greek Freddy Adu". siamsportz. 6 March 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  11. ^ "History of the World Cup: 1958 - A star is born in Pele". sportsnet. Retrieved 2018.
  12. ^ "The Joy of Six: classiest hat-tricks". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Scotland - International Matches 1872-1880 Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  14. ^ "ON THIS DAY 30 July - 1966: Football glory for England". BBC. 30 July 1966. Retrieved 2011.
  15. ^ Turner, Georgina (28 January 2004). "The knowledge: Who gets the match ball?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018.
  16. ^ Michel Platini: Uefa chief has his critics but is used to success, Ben Smith, 9 December 2012
  17. ^ Alberto Bueno scored four La Liga goals in ..16 .. minutes , BBC News, 28 February 2015
  18. ^ "THE PERFECT HAT TRICK | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary".
  19. ^ Woodward, Hamish (7 June 2021). "What is a Brace in Soccer? And Other Interesting Football Terminology". Atletifo Sports. Retrieved 2021.
  20. ^ "Hat trick! Edwin Encarnación hits three homers, drives in nine in Jays win". Yahoo! Sports. 29 August 2015.
  21. ^ Breheny, Martin. "Martin Breheny's Greatest All-Ireland Finals". Irish Independent. 1 September 2018, p. 11.
  22. ^ Crowe, Dermot (6 December 2020). "For the love of club, county and football - why Tipperary's star forward came home". Sunday Independent.
  23. ^ Michael Quinlivan heroics against Armagh sees Tipperary promoted Irish Examiner
  24. ^ Roche, Frank (14 September 2019). "'Dart from Clontarf' arrives on time for Blues' final destination". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 2019. We had the classic hat-trick of points - via fist, left foot and right.
  25. ^ "Cillian O'Connor the record-breaker as Tipperary fairytale ends". Joe. 6 December 2020.
  26. ^ "O'Connor breaks All-Ireland scoring record with 4-9". Hogan Stand. 6 December 2020.
  27. ^ "'I don't know where that came from' - Clifford coy on stunning finish for hat-trick". RTÉ. 16 May 2021.
  28. ^ "Guelph's tricky claim". Guelph Mercury. 21 March 2009. Archived from the original on 25 March 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  29. ^ "Miscellaneous Trivia". NHL.
  30. ^ "About Henri Henri". Henri Henri. Retrieved 2012.
  31. ^ "The Hat Trick Returns to Its Hockey Birthplace". GuelphStorm.com. Retrieved 2014.
  32. ^ "Toronto Invents: The Hat Trick". Torontoist. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  33. ^ Boswell, Randy (16 April 2017). "Solving the mystery of the NHL's 1st game". CBC News. Retrieved 2017.
  34. ^ Adam Kimmelman, Jonah Bruce (15 November 2010). "Hat tricks coming at a fairly frequent pace". NHL Insider. NHL. Retrieved 2012.
  35. ^ "Ryan's natural hat trick not enough as Ducks fall to Kings". The Sports Network. Archived from the original on 22 December 2011. Retrieved 2011.
  36. ^ John McGourty (25 January 2010). "Going inside the "Gordie Howe Hat Trick"". Inside NHL. NHL. Retrieved 2012.
  37. ^ Montville, Leigh (10 June 1996). "Rat Pack". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on 6 December 2008. Retrieved 2009.
  38. ^ "OFFICIAL NHL RULES - Rule 63, Delaying the Game". Retrieved 2010.
  39. ^ "Rugby League Tables / Scoring Records". afltables.com. Retrieved 2015.

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