The first 10,000 fans at the Chicago Blackhawks' home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins last night were handed red construction hard hats with the team's famous Indian head logo. Pretty cool keepsake; too bad it was for a sport where tossing headgear onto the ice during the game is a revered tradition.
Sure enough, Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews scored what appeared to be his third consecutive goal of the game for a hat-trick in the second period, sending a swarm of construction helmets flying to the ice in celebration.
Turns out it was a case of premature hat-trick adulation. Replay officials determined that Toews's stick was above the crossbar when it touched the puck, nullifying the tally for Chicago. The reaction from the crowd says it all: Some ravenous boos before several hundred fans come to the realization that they just wasted their arena giveaway on a goal that never happened.
OK, so that was uncomfortably hilarious, in an accidently shooting the fireworks off before midnight on New Year's Eve sort of way. But what made the scene absolutely surreal was when Toews gave fans another reason to toss the helmets -- and hundreds more did just that.
Incredibly, in the third period, Toews completed his all-power-play-goal hat-trick with his 25th of the season, sending another flurry of hard hats to the ice. Pittsburgh went on to win in overtime, but they'll be talking about this scene for years:
As Not Qualified To Comment wrote in its great review of the incident:
How were there so many hats left after the first one?! I'm not sure if people were too attached to their hats the first time and were just drunk enough to throw them in the third, or if that many people held onto them the first time knowing the goal might be called back. Actually, I suppose all those lower bowl fans that threw their helmets the first time reloaded and had to give up their free gift twice.
Not only that, but why exactly did the Blackhawks hand out large plastic projectiles before a hockey game? Did no one think that hundreds of plastic domes sent flying from the upper deck might adversely affect the ice; or, perhaps, crack someone in the lower bowl on the skull?
You know, there's a reason a lot of baseball teams hand out replica bats as you're leaving the ballpark.
H/T to the Hawks and Not Qualified To Comment for the news.