The Great Hat-Trick Controversy

“You start out giving your hat

then you give your coat

then your shirt

then your skin

and finally your soul.”

–Charles De Gaulle

For those with hockey in their soul, there should be no problem giving up a hat.  Kram details the hat fiasco from last night.
Colin McDonald. Photo: Jack Mitroka

Colin McDonald. Photo: Jack Mitroka


Cross one off the bucket list.

I’m still waiting for a no-hitter at Coca Cola Park.  I’ll see one, too, someday, when Chuck quits jinxing it.

The one to cross off today is the hat trick.  I’ve always wanted to see a hat trick live at a hockey game, and last night I saw one.  I was out of town when Nick Cousins brought the hats onto the ice last season.  But this one didn’t come without a bit of controversy.

You see, not one hat was thrown onto the ice when Colin McDonald–our captain–netted his third goal last night.  One player, quoted afterwards, called it “embarrassing.”

There were some issues with last night’s game and some other factors which led to the “embarrassing” event, as the Phantoms beat the B-Sens 6-3 behind the captain’s hatter, and nice games from Nick Cousins and Cole Bardreau, among others.  So let’s take a look at the factors involved:

  1. There weren’t many folks at the game.  Announced attendance was 7,160, but there weren’t nearly that many people there.  The snow and the streets and the parking and the weather–I think many season ticket holders took the night off, and mid-week games are a tougher sell anyway.  If more folks were there, surely someone would have gotten the hat-avalanche started.  Incidentally, the roads downtown seemed fine to me–as well as the parking.  The problem was:  The other cars.  If you ever wondered about the effect of the turning lanes, stack lanes, and two-lane sections, now you know.  Traffic was a bit of a bear in spots, so if you stayed home, that’s what you missed.  That said, I remember a Wednesday game last season during the snow, and we had more people there.  Just an off night, I think.
  2. The first goal was initially thought to be Taylor Leier.  It was quickly corrected, but some folks keeping track in their heads could have had Leier with the first goal.
  3. The final goal was an empty-netter.  For sure, it counts just the same.  It’s just that it was difficult to see who shot the goal from the other end as it trickled down the ice.  An added issue was that…
  4. …there were only 28 seconds left in the game.  Many folks that were in the house last night were either headed for the exits or already out as the score was 5-3 prior to the final tally.
  5. Colin needs to do more than just score goals.  Look, we’re still a “young” fan base.  Last season when Nick Cousins scored his hatter at the PPL Center, he waved to the crowd to throw the hats.  I saw no such encouragement from McDonald last night.  He needs to ask for hats if he really wants them.  (Note:  I’m kidding here.  Just wanted to point out that Nicky did that “c’mon c’mon” motion last season.)
  6. We’re a young fan base, with expensive, new hats.  I’ll tell my story of last night in a bit.  However, we talked about this last season at Chickie’s, one day before a game.  Many at the table said, “No way I’m throwing this new, $30 hat onto the ice.”  Since then, we’ve had two “hat nights” from the promotions department, so many of us now have a “free” hat or two which could be sacrificed.  Indeed, I had the free black one on last night.

Kram’s Night

I was flying solo last night.  The snow is still taller than DiPro, and the kids had something with “school” or “midterms” or whatever.  Mrs. Kram had stuff to do for work.  I didn’t even see d.E. there last night.  Luckily, the folks around me are fun to talk to, and I brought my little radio and tuned it to FM-89.9 to listen to Bob Rotruck’s live game call.

I don’t always spend a lot of time on social media during the games–hockey moves to fast and I hate to miss something.  However, during stoppages I might check in or post something really quickly–especially if I’m already caught up during pre-game.  Between the radio and the phone, I was already on “hat trick watch” at the end of the game–both McDonald and Cousins had two goals at the time.  If you don’t believe that I do this, just ask my kids or d.E.–Since we’re usually not terribly close to the ice, when I’m on “hat trick watch” I always come up with a plan (and share it) for how I’m going to get my hat to the ice.  Usually they just roll their eyes when I say something like, “Martel with two goals; we’re on hat trick watch.”  It’s a thing with me.

With the empty net, I was scanning the ice, figuring it would be Cousins to chip one down for the empty netter.  Still, I was screened by some Binghamton players when Colin sent the goal in, so I had to wait for Bob Rotruck’s call before I enacted my “hat trick plan.”  Once it was confirmed to be McDonald, I rushed towards the ice, hat in hand.  I had to push people out of the way….

…because they were all leaving.  As I said above, I think a lot of folks saw the score and the time and just wanted to beat some of the traffic.  Anyway, once I got close enough to throw my hat, I noticed that there were no other hats on the ice.  I wondered if there was a mistake.  Then I noticed the time, and thought that it might be kind of a waste for me to chuck a perfectly good hat, alone, and delay the end of a game we finally won at home.  So I didn’t throw it.

If I had it to do again, I would throw it.  I also have some ideas so that we can make sure that this never happens again:

  1. Choose wisely.  When choosing a hat to wear to the game, ask yourself if you’d be willing to give it up in the case of a hattie.  If not, then consider choosing another hat.
  2. Social Media.  Like I said, we’re not all locked to our phones during the game–at least I hope not (more on this on another day).  But I’ll try to post to Twitter and FaceBook when I’m on “hat trick watch” so y’all can join me.
  3. App.  There’s an AHL app which you  can download and check the scoring if you think we should be on “watch.”  On a night where I’m not following along on the radio or via my phone in real time, it’s a good way to check to see if someone has two goals.

I also want to send a shout out to the Phantoms organization today.  Just saw them advertising half-off a hat.  Perhaps they’re overstocked on that one, but if they’re willing to give you a discount on a new lid, why not chuck the one you’ve got–if the situation presents again?

hat trick


See you at the arena, I’ll be the guy wearing two hats….



Featured Image by Cheryl Pursell

Categories: Kram's Korner - From the Club Level, Phantoms Hockey

4 replies

  1. Hey hey throw that hat on the ice

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. I was ready to throw my knit cap! And my husband is the same way…he is now wearing either his Duquesne hat because he knows the eldest is not going there, or his Lafayette hat because if the eldest does choose to go there, he can get another one.


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