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Where did the phrase "hat trick" originate?

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A Mellon Arena employee sweeps hats thrown onto the ice after forward Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators on December 23, 2009

A Mellon Arena employee sweeps hats thrown onto the ice after forward Evgeni Malkin #71 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators on December 23, 2009.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Question: Where did the phrase "hat trick" originate?

Answer: As with many sports traditions, the true origins of the hat trick are a mystery. A likely explanation is that fans celebrating a three-goal performance were literally interpreting the phrase, "I take my hat off to him." But my favourite theory is that hockey borrowed the hat trick from cricket. The story is that sometime in the 19th century, a bowler for an English team took three wickets with consecutive balls - a rare and remarkable "trick" - and was awarded a new hat by the team in honour of the accomplishment.

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