Since thousands of deliriously excited Edmonton Oilers fans couldn’t be there to do it, a pair of NHL employees acted as their stand-ins in the aftermath of Connor McDavid‘s first-ever postseason hat trick.
Francesca Ranieri, NHL assistant programming and content development, and Angela Wallin, NHL production assistant, events, were shown during the NBC Sports game broadcast tossing hats on the ice after McDavid’s third goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night.
“Unexpected with no fans,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. “I don’t know where the hats came from. Somebody planned that or I don’t know, so I was very surprised. That’s how I felt about that. I didn’t realize that we were going to get hats on because there were no fans, but somebody found some somewhere.”
McDavid’s hat trick came in his home arena – Rogers Place is serving as a hub for 12 Western Conference teams as part of the NHL’s Return to Play plan – but with no fans in the stands due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
That’s where Ranieri and Wallin came in. The announcers got a little chuckle at the gesture and more than a few on social media were delighted.
Steve Mayer, NHL chief content officer, said his team had the idea of throwing hats on the ice before Monday, but “we got caught up in million other ideas in creating the bubble,” and weren’t ready when Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov scored three goals against the New York Rangers in Toronto on Monday afternoon.
“So we got everything ready, and then we got another hat trick tonight,” Mayer said.
Mayer said the hats were the ones the Oilers collect when a player gets a hat trick.
Later the Oilers jokingly invited fans to send in videos of themselves throwing their hats at their TVs after McDavid’s third score.