What happens to the hats hockey fans throw onto the ice to salute a hat trick?
Since there's no NHL-wide policy, teams are on their own. "We used to just toss them out," says Ottawa director of facilities and services Tom Conroy, "but we've started hanging on to them because fans have started to come back to claim them. Obviously, not every hat makes it back to its owner, but we'll send a new Senators cap to people who don't find their own." In Dallas, Detroit and Pittsburgh, caps are thrown away after they're cleared from the ice, though following Jaromir Jagr's hat trick on March 10—which happened to be hat night at the Mellon Arena—the Penguins saved the 1,000 lids that littered the ice. "It's standard procedure to throw hats away since they've been worn," says Phil Becker, an account executive for the Penguins. "But most of those hats were brand-new, so we might give them to charity."
Some teams have gotten creative: The Penguins now offer a selection of the headgear collected off the ice as mementos to the player who scored the hat trick, while the Flyers have installed a display case at the First Union Center to house relics of Philly's hat tricks over the past two seasons. "Once the hats are on the ice, they're public property, so we keep them and put them on display," says Kerrianne Brady, the Center's archivist. "We just clean them first."