Gordie Howe Hat Trick & Its  Unique Triumph in Hockey

James Felix

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Gordie Howe Hat Trick

In the dynamic world of ice hockey, where skill, strategy, and tenacity collide, the “Gordie Howe Hat Trick” stands as a testament to a player’s multifaceted prowess. 

Named after the iconic Hall of Famer Gordie Howe, this distinctive achievement requires a rare blend of offensive finesse, playmaking skill, and the grit to engage in on-ice fisticuffs all in a single game. 

This feature explores the legacy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick, unraveling the layers of its origin and its place in hockey lore. 

From Howe’s own legendary career to the strategic challenges players face in pursuit of this unique hat trick, we delve into the anatomy of an accomplishment that goes beyond goals and assists, encapsulating the very essence of what makes a hockey player truly exceptional. 

Join us on a journey through the icy battles where goals, assists, and fights converge in a display of unwavering determination ushering in the indomitable spirit of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick.

What Is Gordie Howe’s Hat Trick in Hockey?

A Gordie Howe hat trick is a term used in ice hockey to describe a player’s performance in a single game where they achieve three specific accomplishments: scoring a goal, recording an assist, and participating in a fight. 

This combination of events pays homage to Gordie Howe, a legendary Hall of Famer in hockey who was known for his exceptional skills as both a goal-scorer and a physical player.

In a standard hat trick, a player scores three goals in a single game. The Gordie Howe hat trick adds a different dimension by including an assist and a fight, reflecting the diverse skills and toughness that Howe was known for during his illustrious career. 

While not as common as regular hat tricks, achieving a Gordie Howe hat trick is considered a notable and well-rounded accomplishment in the world of hockey.

History of Gordie Howe’s Hat Trick in Hockey

The history of the Gordie Howe hat trick in hockey traces back to its first known occurrence in 1917 and continues to be a notable achievement in the sport. 

Here are some key milestones in the history of the Gordie Howe hat trick:

First Known Gordie Howe Hat Trick (1917)

The first recorded Gordie Howe hat trick was achieved by Harry Cameron of the Toronto Arenas on December 26, 1917, in a game against the Montreal Canadiens.

Gordie Howe’s First Hat Trick (1953)

Gordie Howe, the namesake of the hat trick, accomplished his first Gordie Howe hat trick on October 11, 1953, during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored a goal, assisted on a goal, and engaged in a fight with Fernie Flaman.

Second Gordie Howe Hat Trick (1954)

Howe recorded another Gordie Howe hat trick on March 21, 1954, in a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Once again, he scored a goal, assisted on two goals, and fought Ted “Teeder” Kennedy.

Double Gordie Occurrences

  • The “Double Gordie,” involving two players from opposing teams who each achieve a Gordie Howe hat trick and then fight each other, has occurred on multiple occasions.
  • On April 9, 1981, Brad Park and Bobby Smith completed a Double Gordie during a playoff game between the Minnesota North Stars and the Boston Bruins.
  • On March 9, 2010, Fedor Tyutin and Ryan Getzlaf achieved a Double Gordie.
  • On January 10, 2012, Adam Henrique and Jarome Iginla accomplished a Double Gordie.

Recent Double Gordie (2023)

On October 31, 2023, Liam O’Brien recorded a Gordie Howe hat trick, fighting Nick Foligno, while two other players, Jack McBain, and Jarred Tinordi, also achieved the feat in the same game, marking the first time in 35 years that two players from the same team achieved a Gordie Howe hat trick.

These instances highlight the rarity and historical significance of the Gordie Howe hat trick in hockey, showcasing the unique combination of offensive prowess and physicality that defines the achievement.

Anatomy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick

Anatomy of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick

The anatomy of a Gordie Howe hat trick involves three specific elements in a single hockey game: a goal, an assist, and a fight. Here’s a breakdown of each component:


The player must score a goal during the game. A goal is scored when the puck crosses the goal line and enters the opposing team’s net. Players can score goals by shooting the puck into the net using their sticks.


In addition to scoring a goal, the player must also contribute an assist. An assist is credited to a player who passes the puck to a teammate, directly leading to a goal. 

Assists are an important measure of a player’s playmaking and teamwork skills.


The player needs to engage in a fight during the same game. Hockey fights involve players dropping their gloves and using their fists to exchange blows. 

While fighting is penalized in hockey, it has been a part of the sport’s culture, and players like Gordie Howe were known for their physical toughness.

Combining these three elements – goal, assist, and fight – in a single game results in the achievement of a Gordie Howe hat trick. 

It’s a term that celebrates a player’s versatility, showcasing their ability to contribute offensively (goal and assist) as well as their toughness and willingness to engage physically (fight). 

It’s important to note that achieving a Gordie Howe hat trick is a rare occurrence, and not all players manage to accomplish this feat during their careers.

The Grit Factor: The Fight Component

The “fight” component of the Gordie Howe hat trick reflects a player’s physical and gritty style of play. 

Hockey has a long tradition of physicality, and players who engage in fights are often admired for their toughness and willingness to defend themselves and their teammates. 

Here are some aspects of the “fight” component, often referred to as the “grit factor”:

Toughness and Physicality

Toughness and Physicality

The fight component of the Gordie Howe hat trick is a nod to the physical nature of hockey. 

Players who drop the gloves and engage in fights demonstrate a willingness to play a tough, physical game. It’s a way to assert dominance on the ice and protect teammates.

Team Spirit

Fights in hockey can sometimes be sparked by a desire to rally the team or change the momentum of a game. 

When a player stands up for a teammate or responds to a physical play, it can boost team morale and show a strong sense of camaraderie.

Player Reputation

Throughout the history of hockey, certain players have become known for their fighting abilities and toughness. 

Achieving the “fight” component in a Gordie Howe hat trick can enhance a player’s reputation as someone who not only contributes offensively but is also physically imposing and unafraid to drop the gloves.

Entertainment Value

While the league has implemented rules to minimize unnecessary fights, the occasional altercation can still be a source of entertainment for fans. 

It adds an extra layer of excitement to the game and reflects the intensity and emotion that are inherent in hockey.

It’s important to note that the role of fighting in hockey has evolved over the years, with an increased emphasis on player safety. 

The league has implemented rules and penalties to discourage excessive fighting, and the focus is often on skillful and fast-paced play. 

However, the “grit factor” remains a part of the game’s culture, and players who can balance skill with physicality are often highly valued.

Debut Variations in Gordie Howe Hat Trick

Debut variations in Gordie Howe hat tricks add an extra layer of significance to the achievement, as they often involve a player accomplishing the feat in their first NHL game or recording their first NHL career milestones within the same game. 

Here are two notable instances of debut variations:

Steve Pinizzotto (November 19, 2014)

On November 19, 2014, Steve Pinizzotto achieved a Gordie Howe hat trick in his debut for the 2014–15 NHL season. 

He was called up by the Edmonton Oilers to play against his previous team, the Vancouver Canucks. In this game, Pinizzotto not only completed a Gordie Howe hat trick but also scored his first NHL goal, making the achievement even more special.

Tyler Lewington (December 29, 2018)

On December 29, 2018, Tyler Lewington of the Washington Capitals accomplished a Gordie Howe hat trick in just his second career NHL game, playing against the Ottawa Senators. 

What makes this instance unique is that all three components of the hat trick—goal, assist, and fight—were NHL career firsts for Lewington. 

He recorded his first assist on a goal by Tom Wilson and engaged in his first fight against Zack Smith.

These debut variations emphasize the unpredictable and memorable nature of the Gordie Howe hat trick, particularly when a player achieves significant milestones or makes a strong impression in their early NHL appearances. 

It adds an element of excitement for both the player and fans, as it becomes a memorable debut in the player’s professional career.


When did Gordie Howe achieve his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick?

Gordie Howe accomplished his first Gordie Howe Hat Trick on October 11, 1953, scoring a goal, assisting on a goal, and fighting Fernie Flaman of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Has a player ever achieved a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in their NHL debut?

Yes, Steve Pinizzotto achieved a debut variation of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick on November 19, 2014, scoring his first NHL goal, assisting on another, and fighting in his first game of the 2014–15 season.

Are there instances of a “Double Gordie” in NHL history?

Yes, the “Double Gordie” involves two players achieving a Gordie Howe Hat Trick and then fighting each other. 

Notably, on April 9, 1981, Brad Park and Bobby Smith completed a Double Gordie during a playoff game between the Minnesota North Stars and the Boston Bruins.

What’s the significance of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick in a player’s career?

Achieving a Gordie Howe Hat Trick is a rare and prestigious accomplishment, showcasing a player’s versatility in scoring, playmaking, and physicality. 

It reflects the player’s well-rounded skills and is often celebrated as a memorable moment in their hockey career.

Wrapping Up

In the dynamic world of hockey, the Gordie Howe Hat Trick stands as a symbol of versatility and toughness. 

From its origins with Harry Cameron to iconic moments in Gordie Howe’s career, and even debut variations, this unique achievement encapsulates the essence of the sport. 

Not only is it a rare feat, but it also celebrates a player’s ability to contribute offensively, assist teammates, and engage in the physical aspects of the game. 

The Gordie Howe Hat Trick, with its rich history and occasional variations, remains a cherished and memorable aspect of hockey lore, immortalizing the legacy of one of the game’s greatest players.

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James Felix

As Head Boy's Ice Hockey Coach at Milton Academy, I foster teamwork, discipline, and skill development. Our success relies on dedication and refining tactics. We balance academics with on-ice performance, shaping well-rounded individuals. Together, we uphold Milton Academy's tradition of excellence in athletics and academics. LinkedIn

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