An apparent case of friendly fire nearly cost a Toronto Maple Leafs fan his prized fedora following Auston Matthews’ recent hat trick against Philadelphia.
Season-ticket holder John Hamilton, 73, was celebrating Matthews’ three-goal effort in a win over the Flyers when a man sitting behind him took the liberty of grabbing his $300 maroon Stetson and throwing it on the ice at Scotiabank Arena.
‘I was surprised,’ Hamilton told the Toronto Sun. “At first I also thought it was a joke, until I saw my hat on the ice.”
Video of the incident has since gone viral, showing the youngest fan blaming his friend and cameraman for his own exuberance.
“He told me to do it,” the fan said, pointing to his off-screen friend.
Season-ticket holder John Hamilton, 73, was celebrating Matthews’ three-goal effort in the win over the Flyers when a man sitting behind him threw his $300 fedora onto the ice.
The incident went viral and sparked many negative reactions towards the unidentified offender (right)
And as the Sun reported, the anonymous fan may have been planning to throw Hamilton’s hat onto the ice.
“After Matthews scored the second goal, the guy said to me, ‘Are you going to throw your hat if he scores the third?'” Hamilton said. “I said, ‘No way.’ I love this hat.”
“I have different fedoras for different games,” he added. “I would never throw away one of my expensive hats.”
Matthews’ natural hat trick came in the second period of Thursday’s win over Philadelphia.
The perpetrator has not been publicly identified, and according to Hamilton, “the guy definitely didn’t apologize,” even when witnesses started criticizing him.
“His friend apologized again and again and bought me and my guests a beer,” Hamilton, a season ticket holder for 40 years, told the Sun. “But nothing like he must have felt embarrassed and left after all the people were yelling at him.”
There is a happy ending: Hamilton has been reunited with his hat.
Maple Leafs staff apparently witnessed the fedora landing on the ice and quickly searched for its owner.
“I didn’t even have to look for my hat thanks to the amazing setter in our section,” Hamilton said. “She told me, ‘I knew you wouldn’t have thrown it away.’ I want to thank everyone for getting my hat back so quickly.’
It turns out that Hamilton is a fan of fedoras and owns 15 custom-made Stetsons.
He is also a forgiving man, who does not want the offender to be identified for fear that he will lose his job or face some other type of sanction.
“My friends told me that in today’s world, when something happens on social media, they can lose their job,” Hamilton said. ‘I wouldn’t want that to happen. Surely he would accept an apology, forgive him and move on. I got my hat back and we’ve done stupid things in our youth.
Leafs staff clear blocks after Matthews’ natural hat trick in the second period on Thursday
Auston Matthews (No. 34) and his teammates leave the ice after his natural hat trick
Fans on social media were less forgiving.
“That deserves a cross check,” wrote one user on X.
“Those hats are really expensive too,” another noted.
Many fans insisted that, unlike Hamilton, they would have become violent: “Someone does that to me. They either kick me out or kick me out.”
The Maple Leafs would win the game in overtime on a goal from William Nylander and Matthews would record another hat trick in their next game: a 9-2 win over the visiting Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.
Fortunately for Hamilton, his fedora emerged unscathed.