There are few better feelings for hockey fans than tossing hats onto the ice in acknowledgment of a player scoring three goals in a game. Conversely, there are a few more awkward feelings than having that same hat trick wiped off the scoreboard due to a video review.
Minnesota Wild fans experienced both of these emotions in the span of a minute during their team’s Game 2 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
Late in the third period, forward Joel Eriksson Ek scored his third goal of the game to give the Wild a 6-2 lead. Hats flew from the stands onto the ice. As the ice crew scooped them up, the Blues bench was checking the play for a possible missed offside call.
Coach Craig Berube issued a successful coach’s challenge. Marcus Foligno was offside on the play. Eriksson Ek’s goal was taken off the board, and his hat trick was no more.
The hats, sadly, were not returned to the fans. But according to Sportzshala’s Leah Hextall on the broadcast, any fan that wants their hat back in an NHL arena can head to the lost and found to get it back — whether the hat trick counted or not.
But Wild fans had no time to do that before an actual, legal hat trick was completed by Minnesota’s leading scorer Kirill Kaprizov, whose third goal of the game slid into an empty net with 7:08 remaining in the game — one minute after Foligno went offside.
More hats hit the ice, though not as many as for Eriksson Ek’s discounted goal. Which raises the obvious question: Why didn’t those Wild fans throw their hats on the first hat trick?