Natural Hat Tricks – Complete Guide (Natural vs Regular Hat Tricks)

The NHL is filled with amazing players that can make unbelievable plays. One of the most impressive feats a player can achieve is scoring a hat trick. Fans love to see players score three goals in one game because it often leads to an exciting win. Little do we know that there are two types of hat tricks in the NHL. So I’m going to explain them in this blog post.

Natural and regular hat tricks are two different things. A regular hat trick is when a player scores three goals in one game while a natural hat trick is when a player scores three goals in a game without having an assist or any other players assisting, and it’s also only achievable by the player who scored the goals. This feat can be accomplished at any point during regulation time as well as overtime, but not in the shootout. 

It’s one of the most thrilling accomplishments a player can achieve, and it frequently results in an enthusiastic celebration. But what does it take to score a hat trick? And who scored the most natural hat tricks in NHL history? Read on to find out!

What is a natural hat trick in the NHL?

Natural hat trick occurs when a player scores three goals without the opponent scoring. In hockey, this is often called an “unassisted” or “clean” hat trick. There are two ways to get an unassisted hat trick. The first is when the player scores three goals in one game without any assists from his teammates on them, and the second way is if the player has scored all of their goals for that season without receiving any assists on those goals either. 

These feats often require some degree of skill with regard to scoring or particular circumstances, such as playing against a poor goalie or multiple penalties being called against the other team. It’s most likely going to be due to a combination of these factors working together rather than just pure luck, which makes it even more impressive! There have been many greats who’ve achieved this feat over time, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, and Phil Esposito, just to name a few. 

What’s the difference between a regular hat trick and a Natural Hat Trick?

A regular hat trick is when a player scores three goals, with at least one other player scoring in between. This has been done over 5000 times in NHL history. The first player to ever score a regular hat trick was Harry Hyland on December 18, 1917, against the Toronto Arenas.

The difference between a natural and regular hat trick is that in order for it to be considered a natural, the player has to score all three goals consecutively without another player scoring in between their goals. In contrast, if two or more players score during the timeframe of one player’s goal, then it would count as a regular hat trick.

Fun fact, In 1952, Bill Mosienko of the Chicago Blackhawks scored the fastest natural hat trick. He scored all three goals in a span of only 21 seconds, setting a new record for the fastest hat trick ever recorded.

What is the history of hat tricks?

Hat tricks have been around for as long as hockey has, but there hasn’t always been an official scoring method or statistic until sometime during the 1920s, when it was first officially recorded. The term “hat trick” itself comes from cricket, where a bowler who takes three wickets in consecutive deliveries is said to have taken out the batsman’s hat. 

The phrase “hat trick” originated in hockey when Sammy Taft, a Toronto entrepreneur, offered a hat to a player who scored three goals in an NHL game played in Toronto. When Alex Kaleta, a Blackhawks player, liked a cap in Taft’s shop but didn’t have the cash on hand, the offer was born.

The owner of the shop offered to give Kaleta the hat for free if he scored three goals against the Maple Leafs that night. Kaleta scored four goals in the game, and the next day he was given a hat as a result of “Alex Kaleta’s hat trick” being reported by the media.

Today, hat tricks are an extremely exciting event in the NHL and can often lead to team victories. There have been many great players who’ve achieved this feat over time, and I’m sure there will be many more to come!


What happens when a player scores a hat trick?

When a player scores a hat trick in the NHL, it’s an extremely exciting event! Not only does this player get to celebrate with their teammates, but they also often get rewarded with some pretty cool swag. 

Traditionally, this meant that the player would be given a new hat to commemorate their achievement. Today, however, things are a bit different. Depending on the team and the occasion, players can now receive anything from hats and T-shirts to jackets! 

There had been other things thrown from the crowd; however, the NHL generally discourages anything but hats. In Detroit, fans frequently fling octopi onto the ice during a playoff game; this strange habit began during a Stanley Cup final in 1952 when a Red Wings fan threw an octopus to represent the eight games needed to claim the title.

In other locations, supporters have been known to toss things such as burgers, lobsters, waffles, beer bottles, and so on. When you consider the mess it makes and how expensive it is to clean up afterward, this is quite absurd.

Teams often celebrate hat tricks by playing music or lighting up special effects in the arena. It’s an exciting event for both players and fans alike!

What is the Gordie Howe Hat Trick?

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a type of hat trick that includes one goal, one assist, and one fight. This feat was named after the great Gordie Howe who is considered to be one of the best hockey players of all time. He accomplished this unique hat trick on multiple occasions throughout his career.

A “Double Gordie”  is another variation of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick that happens when two players on opposite teams each score a goal, get an assist, and fight. On occasion, we’ve seen double and triple Gordie Howe hats. 

The first was on March 9, 2010, when the Columbus Blue Jackets were in Anaheim to take on the Ducks — winning the game 5-2. It happened again on January 10, 2012, in the game between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks and the most recent was on March 30, 2017, when the Philadelphia Flyers won against the New York Islanders, 6-2.

How many natural hat tricks are there in the NHL?

There have been quite a few natural hat tricks in the NHL over the years. Unfortunately, I can’t give you an exact number because there isn’t one! As I mentioned earlier, this feat is often called an “unassisted” or “clean” hat trick due to the lack of assists on any of the goals scored. So, it’s hard to track precisely how many there are because it could be defined in different ways by different people. 

I have extensively searched the internet for information about this, but I haven’t been able to find concrete historical data. That being said, I’ve seen that there have been quite a few over the recent years, and NHL shared this stat. There were 364 hat tricks registered from seasons 2016-2021, wherein approximately 13% were natural. 

Wayne Gretzky topped the chart with a career-high of 50 natural hat tricks in his long and illustrious career. 

Here are the top 10 players that have the most hat tricks recorded in NHL:

RankPlayerSeasons PlayedThree or More Goal GamesThree Goal Game
1Wayne Gretzky20506
2Mario Lemieux17406
3Mike Bossy10396
4Brett Hull19337
5Phil Esposito18328
6Marcel Dionne18286
7Alex Ovechkin17282
8Bobby Hull16287
9Maurice Richard18266
10Cy Denneny12255

Who has the most natural hat tricks?

This is a difficult question to answer because, as I mentioned earlier, there isn’t an exact number for natural hat tricks. However, I can give you a list of some of my favorite players who have had the most “unassisted” or “clean” hat tricks in their careers. 

Some of these players include Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Maurice Richard, and Mike Bossy. These are all incredible hockey players who have achieved amazing things in their careers, so it’s no surprise that they’re on this list!

There are many more players who have had natural hat tricks throughout NHL history, but these are just a few examples. As time goes on and the sport evolves, we may see more and more players achieve this incredible feat!

What are some of the best examples of a Natural Hat Trick?

There are many great examples of natural hat tricks throughout NHL history, but I’ve chosen a few of my favorites to share with you here.

One of my favorite examples is from the Bruins’ game on November 23, 1975, against the Philadelphia Flyers. Phil Esposito scored all three goals for the Bruins in that game, and he did it without any assists from his teammates. This was an amazing accomplishment at the time and still holds up today as one of the best examples ever!

Another great example was Mario Lemieux’s performance against the Hartford Whalers on December 31, 1988. In this game, Lemieux managed to score all three of his team’s goals- again without any help from his teammates. This was an incredible accomplishment and showed just how talented of a player he was!

What is the most common way for a player to get a hat trick?

A player can get a hat trick in many ways. Players have been able to score three goals in the same game from getting them all on even strength, power play, or shorthanded. They’ve also been able to achieve this feat by scoring three back-to-back goals off of faceoffs, and special teams play as well! 

There are so many different ways that a player can get a hat trick in hockey it’s nearly impossible to define one way as the “most common.” That being said, there is no doubt about how exciting natural hat tricks are for everyone involved!

Final Word

Hockey has become a sport that is full of skill, finesse, and strategy. It’s not only about brute force anymore; it’s also about how you use your brain to outsmart the other team. So when a player scores three goals in one game, they have pulled off the hat trick! This is something to celebrate for sure–especially if you’re wearing your favorite team’s gear! 

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