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A brief history of the Flames and Gordie Howe hat tricks

Hockey is a wonderfully weird sport, and nothing quite encapsulates the oddness of its lore than the Gordie Howe hat trick. Comprised of a goal, an assist, and a fight in the same game, the term was coined in the 1950s but only accomplished by its namesake twice.

There have been 59 Gordie Howe hat tricks in Flames franchise history. Here’s a quick primer.

There were 11 Gordie Howe hat tricks by the Atlanta Flames. The first was by Ernie Hicke on Dec. 20, 1972 – in Atlanta’s 32nd game – against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The final Atlanta Gordie was on Mar. 4, 1978 by Willi Plett against the now-defunct Cleveland Barons.

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The first Calgary Flames Gordie was by Eric Vail on Jan. 15, 1981 against Detroit. The most recent Gordie was by Alex Chiasson on Dec. 4, 2016 against Anaheim. 11 of the 48 Gordie Howe hat tricks recorded by Calgary players were accomplished against the Edmonton Oilers.

As you might expect, the Flames’ all-time leader in Gordie Howe hat tricks is Jarome Iginla. Iginla had 11 Gordie Howe hat tricks with the Flames and 12 actual hat tricks. He had one of each in the same month in December 2007 and October 2008. He also recorded a Gordie during the 2004 Stanley Cup Final, which is a fantastic rarity.

Six other Flames recorded more than one Gordie: Joel Otto (7), Willi Plett (4), Jim Peplinski (4), Gary Roberts (3), Chris Clark (2) and Lanny McDonald (2). The remaining ones were all on-offs by Ernie Hicke, Keith McCreary, Chuck Arnason, Tom Lysiak, Richard Mulhern, Curt Bennett, Bobby Simpson, Dick Redmond, Eric Vail, Ken Houston, Bob MacMillan, Mel Bridgman, Carey Wilson, Al MacInnis, Gino Cavallini, Gary Suter, Dana Murzyn, Ron Stern, Todd Simpson, Sandy McCarthy, Clarke Wilm, Ronald Petrovicky, Daymond Langkow, Dion Phaneuf, Brian McGrattan, and Alex Chiasson.

There have been two occasions where a pair of Flames have recorded Gordie Howe hat tricks in the same game:

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  • On Mar. 11, 1989, both Otto and Peplinski did so against the Oilers.
  • On Oct. 5, 1989, both Roberts and Murzyn did so against the Red Wings.

In Flames history, no player has recorded both a hat trick and a Gordie Howe hat trick in the same game. Well, yet.

Only two current Flames have recorded Gordie Howe hat tricks in their careers (and both did so with other clubs): Milan Lucic (3, most recently in 2012) and Travis Hamonic (1, in 2011).