Where did the term hat trick come from?

Hello Matthew:

I'm a hockey fan, and I've always wondered why when a player scores three goals in one game they say he scored a hat trick. What do hats have to do with it?

--Ice Man, San Diego

Hats have nothing to do with hockey, but they apparently have something to do with cricket, because that's where the term comes from. When the cricket bowler (like a pitcher in baseball) disposes of three opponents in a row, each on just a single ball bowled (by hitting the wicket and knocking off the bail), he was awarded a new team hat for his rare accomplishment. Now the only thing left to figure out is what cricket has to do with hockey.

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