Frequently Asked Questions

What is a hat trick?

As defined, a hat trick in ice hockey is three goals scored by one player in one game. Hat tricks can also occur in soccer. In baseball, a hat trick is a series of a base-hit, a two base-hit, a three-base hit and a home run achieved in any order by one player in one game. Ice hockey fans customarily throw their hats onto the ice to show appreciation to the player scoring the hat trick. For more history of the hat trick, see the "About" web page.

How did you get the idea to start this project?

Being an avid Penguins fan, I had always wondered what happened to the hats thrown at hat tricks (as did many other people). After doing some investigation I learned that most of the hats were thrown away after the game due to health concerns. I wanted to tie my love of hockey into my Eagle Project, and collecting and distributing these discarded hats seemed like a perfect way to accomplish this; as well as helping less fortunate people and the environment in the process.

How do you get the hats?

After a hat trick is scored, the janitorial staff at the arena shovels the hats into bags. The bags are then saved in a special room at the rink until arrangements are made for me to pick up the hats, usually within three days of the hat trick.

What is the most unusual hat you have received?

We've received several strange hats. A straw safari hat, a pink cowboy hat, and a "Budapest Drinking Team" hat are currently the top three. There was also a "Hooters" hat that was autographed by more than ten waitresses.

Do you ever get anything other than a hat?

Oftentimes we get water bottles, programs, and other trash. Once we found a belt, and we've even received a single black leather men's shoe. Fans often bundle a water bottle or program inside their hats to make them travel farther when thrown. Last December, Evgeni Malkin had a hat trick on the day before Christmas Eve, which was the Penguins "Stocking Giveaway" night. That night there were 243 Christmas stockings and 17 Santa hats thrown.

Do you do the work alone, or do you have help from others?

I have a lot of help from my Boy Scout Troop 830 of Clinton, Pennsylvania. Without the Adult Leaders and fellow Boy Scouts, Hat Tricks 4 Humanity wouldn't be where it is today.

Where do you wash the hats?

The hats that are collected are washed at the local Laundry Mat in our town, with the help of Boy Scout volunteers, leaders and some parents.

How often to you have the "wash parties"?

We generally have a wash party within a week or two of a hat trick. The hats need attention right away since when they are shoveled into the bags by the janitorial staff, ice shavings are shoveled into the bags also. The combination of the plastic bags and the moisture inside will lead to disastrous consequences if not washed soon.

Do you use your own money or donations for the project?

No. Everything used in Hat Tricks 4 Humanity is donated by generous individuals and businesses.

How do you clean the hats?

Very carefully. First we treat the stains and inside with stain remover. During this process we examine the hats for any tags or cardboard inserts within the hat. If we accidentally leave a cardboard insert in the hat during the wash cycle, it will disintegrate and become "lint" on all the hats...thus requiring another wash cycle. Then we sort them by color, and wash in hot water using a secret mix of detergent and borax.

How much does it cost to wash the hats?

About $40 per laundry mat session. Equate that into quarters, and that's a lot of change!

Are any of the hats uncleanable?

Absolutely. We try to save all the hats we can, but there are some that are way too far gone.

Have you ever met any of the players?

Yes, I actually did meet Sidney Crosby by accident when he was coming out of his practice. We had a conversation about my Eagle Project. Sidney said he was glad the hats were going to good use. Before he got into his vehicle, he said "I'll try and get some more hats for you!" It was great to meet him.

What are the most hats you've ever gotten in a hat trick?

The largest tally was from Sidney Crosby's hat trick on Hat Giveaway night on November 28, 2009. There were 1,382 hats thrown, and they filled 12 overstuffed garbage bags.

How many hat tricks usually occur in one season in the NHL?

Although it is not a science, historically there have been between three and six hat tricks per team per season.

Do you plan to continue with the project next hockey season, and further on?

Yes. I actually want to keep going with the project until college. Then, I'll probably hand it over to someone who could continue with it.

What's the furthest country receiving hats?

The winner of that category would be Afghanistan, where 200 members of our troops being deployed are enjoying Pittsburgh sport team hats.

Do you receive hats from anywhere else?

Yes. My community has been very supportive. I passed out letters to my neighbors last summer during the Penguins off-season explaining my project. I emailed our family's hockey friends too. Even my dentist posted a letter at her office explaining my cause. I received several hundred hats through these sources. After my interview on Penguins Online TV and ESPN, I got emails from people all over the country offering to mail hats to me. I partnered with my school's National Honors Society to run a "Hat Drive" and we brought in 850 hats. The individual class collecting the most hats won a free breakfast!

Who designed this great Web Site?

My school team's hockey coach, Tony Franzetta, works for a company called Vision Creative, in Sewickley PA. He and his company offered to donate this web site design to help my project. In the process I met with Drew Nelson; their web-designer, and executives at their office to plan the web site and its content. I never imagined I would have an experience like this when I started this Hat Trick project!

When will you be hosting Saturday Night Live?

That remains to be seen. You never know what opportunities will present themselves. I never thought I'd make it to ESPN!

Hats Donated

Hats Distributed
Hats Recieved

H4H News

Hat of the Month

This "My First Penguin's Cap" was thrown at Sydney Crosby's 12/29/2010 Hat Trick that was subsequently recalled when it was determined that the third goal was tipped into the net by Matt Cooke's stick. Although the Hat Trick was recalled, approximately 125 hats were tossed onto the ice in celebration!

Spotlight Organization

Operation Troop Appreciation
"Thank you to Kristen Holloway Querriera, for providing us the means to give hats to soldiers being deployed from the Pittsburgh area. We hope the hats affirm your mission, "To build and sustain the morale of deployed troops, enabling them to complete their missions with the assurance that the American public supports and appreciates their selfless service and daily sacrifices."
- Mike Behme

Boy Scout Troop 830, Clinton Pennsylvania

Special Thanks

Vision Creative For creating this website. Visit their site here.