The Hat Trick: A Tradition at the Henri Henri Hat Store

For nearly a century, the Henri Henri hat store has stood as a symbol of timeless elegance in Montreal. As we celebrate our heritage, it's only fitting to explore the rich history of the "Hat Trick" in the National Hockey League (NHL) and the special place Henri Henri occupies in this cherished tradition.


What Is a Hat Trick In a Hockey Game?

The term "Hat Trick" originated in the sport of cricket, denoting the feat of a bowler dismissing three consecutive batsmen with three successive deliveries

However, the phrase found its way into ice hockey during the NHL's early years. On January 26, 1946, Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alex Kaleta achieved the first recognized NHL Hat Trick, scoring three goals against the Boston Bruins. Since then, the Hat Trick has become one of the most celebrated milestones in hockey.


The Tradition of Hat Tipping:

Back in the early 20th century, it was customary for Montrealers to tip their hats in appreciation of excellent performances. As the city's premier hat store since 1932, Henri Henri quickly became intertwined with this tradition. Fans visiting our store would find the perfect hat to tip when witnessing a remarkable Hat Trick at a game.

This connection between the NHL's cherished achievement and Henri Henri's iconic hats has endured through the years, with our store proudly outfitting generations of hockey enthusiasts.


Memorable Hat Tricks in NHL History:

Over the decades, countless legendary players have etched their names in NHL history books with unforgettable Hat Tricks. 

From the great Maurice "Rocket" Richard's 8 Hat Tricks in a single season to Wayne Gretzky's 50 career Hat Tricks, the tradition continues to captivate hockey fans worldwide. 

As these skilled athletes raised their sticks to acknowledge the crowd after achieving a Hat Trick, Montrealers would also raise their hats, creating a powerful bond between the sport and our store.


Henri Henri’s Contribution: 

Between 1940 and 1970 when there were six NHL teams, Henri Henri rewarded players who had scored three goals or more in one game at the Montreal Forum with a free hat, which brought the “Hat Trick” expression into the world of hockey. The list of winners includes legendary players such as Stan Mikita and Bobby Hull from Chicago Black Hawks, Maurice Richard and Elmer Lack from Montreal Canadiens, Norm Ulman from Detroit Red Wings, and many others.

During home games of the Montreal Canadiens at the Montreal Forum, Henri Henri would not only offer a hat as an attendance prize but also to any player -from any team- who would score three goals in a single game.

Mr Lefebvre would go himself on the rink to shake hands with the player and hand him a gift certificate, exchangeable for a brand new hat of his choice.

Hence, a great many players of the “Original Six” era passed Henri Henri’s threshold to claim their prize. Among these exceptional athletes, Henri Henri Ltd crowned Montreal legends such as Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Émile “Butch” Bouchard, and Hector “Toe” Blake, among others. Here you can see Mr Henri attending to Norm Ullman, Roger Crozier, Gordie Howe, and Bruce McGregor, all from the 1965-66 Detroit Red Wings lineup.

Mr Henri serving Norm Ullman, Roger Crozier, Gordie Howe and Bruce McGregor, all of the Detroit Red Wings.

Mr Henri serving Norm Ullman, Roger Crozier, Gordie Howe and Bruce McGregor, all of the Detroit Red Wings.


The hat-trick ceremony

Montreal’s way of celebrating the Hat Trick developed around a promotional entente between Henri Henri Ltd and the Montreal Forum organization. 

In exchange for the authorization to promote itself through attendance prizes and the Hat Trick ceremony, Henri Henri had the obligation to print free schedules of the Montreal Canadiens games and distribute them in the Esso gas stations throughout the city. 

Montreal Canadiens schedules printed by Henri Henri

Card slipped into hats

Jean-Maurice Lefevre's ingenious twist was to print them small enough to be tucked in a hat’s sweatband.

Have you ever wondered how anyone could ever throw their precious hat away without a thought, even if just to pay homage to a player? These hats were not simply discarded, they were assembled and redistributed by the Forum staff after the game.

The inscription on the card, reading “Hey, Joe! This isn’t your hat, grab another one!” served as a friendly reminder to anyone reading that they may get their righteously own hat at the address shown on the card.

The Henri Henri hat shop in Montreal, beyond its reputation, has become embedded in the tradition of hockey through the 'hat trick'. This practice, symbolizing excellence on the ice, has become an integral part of Montreal's cultural and sporting identity. Through its unique contributions, Henri Henri has woven an indelible link between the world of hockey and the community, celebrating passion and talent through a simple yet powerful gesture: tipping one's hat in homage to the players' feats.

Francis Bissonnette-Gilker
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