Hat trick hatiquette: What's your strategy?

Think of the cycle of life of a hat for a hockey fan. You would like to wear an officially licensed logo on your head. You spend upwards of $25 for that honor, and complete your arena-going ensemble with the aforementioned chapeau. One of your boys pots three pucks during the game ... and you decide to, literally, throw $25 on the ice in appreciation.

>>Greg Wyshynski's "Five Reasons I Love Hockey"

I always enjoy hearing other hockey fans' experiences and routines. Wysh's ode to the hat trick tradition struck me as totally different from my own. ("Twenty-five dollars for a stinking hat?! Why, in my day 5 cents bought you a candy bar and some two-bit candy...")

Granted, I haven't worn a hat to a game since I was a kid, other than a wooly, which doesn't make a good projectile and, frankly, is needed for the cold way home. Maybe I'm just a frugal Czech, but when I was an eternally hopeful kid expecting a hat trick every game, I planned ahead: I brought a cheap old "backup" hat stuffed in my coat, and when the magic happened, that was the hat I threw to the ice (or, more likely, down to the lower bowl). Before that, if a last-place club was in town, I left my good hat at home.

And it worked! A couple of times, I even got my hat back after the game, and then it became one very special old hat -- from dirty and unwanted to lucky and special.

That tradition is gone; I don't carry an "extra" anymore and none on my head. Of course, I can't remember the last time I saw a hat trick in person, either. They've become a bit like comet sightings.

So, my question to you: Have you ever tossed your hat (or another garment/giveaway) in celebration of a three-goal game? Was it impulsive or pre-planned? What was your strategy? Or are you still waiting for your moment? Do share...

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