Edmonton

Hats thrown in celebration of Oilers hat trick donated to Edmonton homeless organizations

The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation is using a hat trick to help the city's homeless and elderly.

'I've had a couple buddies ... that ended up being hospitalized because they didn't wear the proper clothing'

Phil Belliveau shows off his Oilers hat he got from a bin of donated hats at the Bissell Centre as a result of Leon Draisaitl's hat trick on Sunday Night. (Travis McEwan/CBC)

Leon Draisaitl's hat trick was still paying off on Monday as the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation donated 800 hats to charities to help the city's less fortunate.

Close to 1,000 hats were thrown on the ice by fans in celebration of the Edmonton centre's third goal in the Game 6 defeat of the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.

The foundation delivered 800 hats to the Bissell Centre, Hope Mission, and Operation Friendship.

"I think that was the most hats we've seen," said Natalie Mickler, executive director of the Oilers foundation. "We have celebrated hat tricks with some of our players in the past. I think last night was certainly something we'll remember for a very long time,"

Darren Belliveau, a lifelong Oilers fan, listened to the game on a radio at the Hope Mission shelter.

"I thought it was amazing that we're going for the cup. I really think the Oilers are going to win the cup this year."

He's been homeless for two years, and hasn't worked as an electrical apprentice for a year. Today at the Bissell Centre, he traded in his weathered Oilers hat for one that was thrown onto the ice last night.

"Those will definitely cover a few heads," he said.

It's a great symbol in how we are all the same.- Darren Brennan, spokesperson for the Bissell Centre
"Everyone that gets one will be very happy, I think. I've had a couple of buddies last year that ended up being hospitalized because they didn't wear the proper clothing and didn't try to keep their heads covered."

The donated hats aren't just about surviving the elements on Edmonton's streets. They also allow people who can't afford Oilers gear a chance to show their support.

"It's connecting the celebration of the playoffs to the people of the inner city who may not feel included in that," said Darren Brennan, spokesperson for the Bissell Centre. "It's a great symbol in how we are all the same."

Some NHL teams have policies to return hats to fans who get caught up in the hockey tradition of throwing hats on the ice in celebration of a hat trick. The Ottawa Senators allow fans a two-week period to pick up their hat if they give a detailed description of it.

The Edmonton Oilers do not offer that opportunity. Instead, they regularly donate them to a variety of charities.

@Travismcewancbc

Travismcewan@cbc.ca