The Gordie Howe Hat Trick: A Legacy of Skill and Grit

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a term revered and echoed through the chilly arenas of hockey. It’s not just a phrase; it’s a storyline of a game encapsulated in three acts by a single player—a goal, an assist, and a fight. It’s the blend of skill, teamwork, and raw grit, all rolled into one. The term is a tip of the helmet to the legendary Gordie Howe, whose playing style was the epitome of this trifecta.

Understanding the Gordie Howe Hat Trick is like delving into the essence of hockey. The sport is not merely about scoring; it’s about defending your teammates, standing your ground, and displaying exemplary skill while at it. This unique hat trick encapsulates the spirit of hockey, making it a cherished term among enthusiasts and players alike.

The genesis of the term traces back to the mid-20th century, embodying the legacy of a player whose name became synonymous with all-rounded excellence on ice.

Gordie Howe Hat TrickDetails
DefinitionA goal, an assist, and a fight by a player in one game.
OriginNamed after hockey legend Gordie Howe.
Most Gordie Howe Hat TricksRick Tocchet with 18 Gordie Howe Hat Tricks.
Legacy In Today’s GameDecrease Of Players Accomplishing The Feat

Gordie Howe: The Legend Behind the Hat Trick

Gordie Howe, known as “Mr. Hockey,” was a maestro on ice. His career, spanning over five decades, is a saga of relentless pursuit of excellence. Howe’s game was not about finesse alone; it was about being the player who could change the tide of the game. His ability to score, assist, and not shy away from a skirmish is what etched his name in the annals of hockey lore.

Gordie Howe’s illustrious career:

Career Span1946 – 1980
Achievements801 Goals, 1049 Assists, 22 All-Star appearances
Fighting SpiritKnown for his physical play and not shying away from fights
Notable Awards6 Hart Trophies, 6 Art Ross Trophies
Teams Played WithDetroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers
Stanley Cups Won4 (1950, 1952, 1954, 1955)

Gordie’s influence transcended beyond his playing days. The Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a testament to his holistic approach to the game—an honor bestowed to players who epitomize skill, teamwork, and tenacity in a single game. Though Gordie Howe himself achieved this feat a mere two times, the legend lives on, inspiring players to this day.

Notable Gordie Howe Hat Tricks

While the legend himself achieved the Gordie Howe Hat Trick twice, there have been other knights of the rink who have taken up the mantle. Rick Tocchet leads the pack with a staggering 18 Gordie Howe Hat Tricks under his belt. His prowess in scoring, assisting, and standing tall in a tiff is legendary.

Below is a list of other notable players who have etched their names in Gordie Howe Hat Trick history:

  • Brendan Shanahan with 17
  • Brian Sutter with 12
  • Wilf Paiement with 11
  • Cam Neely with 10

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick is rare, but when it happens, it’s a spectacle, a story unfolding on ice, showcasing the multifaceted skill set a player possesses. Each Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a page in hockey’s rich narrative, echoing the legacy of Gordie Howe.

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick in Modern Hockey

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a rare spectacle in today’s hockey landscape, a nod to a bygone era where the fusion of skill and physicality defined the game. This unique Hat Trick echoes a time when players like Gordie Howe showcased an all-rounded prowess, scoring goals, assisting teammates, and holding their ground in fights. But as the game has modernized, the prevalence of fights, a key component of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, has dwindled.

Back in Gordie Howe’s prime, during the mid-20th century, fights were a common spectacle. The 1950s and 60s saw an average of about 1 fight every 2 games, showcasing a rougher, more confrontational style of play. Gordie’s ability to excel in this rugged landscape, showcasing skill while holding his own in skirmishes, led to the coining of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

Fast forward to today, the frequency of fights has significantly reduced. The modern game sees an average of around 0.18 fights per game, a stark contrast to Gordie’s era. The game has pivoted towards speed, skill, and tactical play, reducing the occurrence of fights and, by extension, the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

The table below juxtaposes the average number of fights per game from Gordie Howe’s era to today:

EraAverage Fights per Game
1950s – 1960s~0.5
Modern Era0.18

Despite the rarity, the Gordie Howe Hat Trick’s allure remains undiminished. It’s a tradition that celebrates a player’s versatility and ruggedness, traits that defined legends like Gordie Howe. While the modern game may have evolved, every Gordie Howe Hat Trick achieved today is a nostalgic trip down memory lane, a tribute to the rugged, all-rounded gameplay that defined the hockey of yore.

Each Gordie Howe Hat Trick in the modern era is not just a personal achievement; it’s a historical nod, a storyline that connects the present to a rich, robust past. The tradition of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick continues to be a cherished narrative, a unique thread in the rich tapestry of hockey.


The Gordie Howe Hat Trick is more than a statistic; it’s a story, a legacy, and a tradition. It embodies the quintessence of hockey—a blend of skill, camaraderie, and the indomitable spirit of competition. While the name Gordie Howe will forever echo through the halls of hockey fame, so will the legacy of the unique hat trick named in his honor.

The narrative of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick is an ongoing one, with each new generation of players carrying the torch forward, striving to etch their names alongside the legends of the game. Through every goal scored, assist made, and fight stood, the legacy of Gordie Howe continues to live on, one hat trick at a time.

Leave a Reply

Related Articles
Hockey Answered Secondary Logo

Welcome to Hockey Answered: a resource for anyone curious to learn & understand more about the great game of hockey.

I am a lifelong fan who grew up in a major market (Calgary), and I have played, coached, and watched a lot of hockey!

As my daughter began watching NHL games with me, I realized how many questions come up about the sport. Hockey Answered is full of, well, answers! If you are a new fan or lifelong enthusiast, I hope that you can enjoy hockey even more by learning something new around here.

How can we help?