Where do Lightning hat trick hats go?

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   TimesTampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9), right, confer on the ice with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin (59) during the first period of Tuesday's (1/31/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | TimesTampa Bay Lightning left wing Ondrej Palat (18), left, and Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9), right, confer on the ice with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Jake Dotchin (59) during the first period of Tuesday's (1/31/17) game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Boston Bruins at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
Published January 10 2018
Updated January 10 2018

After Lightning forward Tyler Johnson clinched his third career hat trick Tuesday night, tons of hats were tossed on the ice by fans in the stands at Amalie Arena.

It's been a long-standing tradition in the NHL to throw the hat you're wearing – typically a baseball cap – to pay homage to the player who scored his third goal.

"I think it's a cool tradition in our sport when something happens like that," Johnson said. "It's pretty sweet."

But where do the hats go?

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They're put to good use. The Lightning gives the hats to organizations like Metropolitan Ministries. The hats are stowed in the bowels of Amalie Arena.

Justine Burke, director of communications for Metropolitan Ministries, said the charity that helps the homeless in Tampa received hats from the Lightning on one occasion and they were put in the clothing closet in the group's outreach center, free to those in need. The center serves 25,000 people a year.

"During Florida cold weather, some of those hats come in handy," Burke said. "Or block the sun on a hot day."

And for those fans who need to replace the caps they toss away? On a hat-trick night, the Lightning offers season-ticket holders 50 percent off new hats and other fans 15 percent off.

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