Bring your hats to Friday's Mallards Game!  It almost didn't happen.

Michael Parks (photo by Sean Flynn for QC Mallards)

Naturally I was excited when I read in the Quad City Times that Michael Parks had a hat trick in the Mallards 5-2 win in Wichita, keeping their lead and playoff position secure.  I was also excited because a road hat trick means hats on the ice at the next home game!  This is a tradition that started with the 1996 Mallards.  I know because I started it. The Quad Cities market is the only Hockey market whose fans celebrate their players' road game hat trick in this way.  So Friday being their next game (4/24) I was grabbing some hats to toss after the national anthem, like always.

So imagine my disappointment to learn that for some reason, the Mallards had asked that we NOT do the home game celebration?  I was bummed that a tradition born in the Quad Cities, one of the greatest hockey towns I've ever lived in (Including Peoria and Chicago,) would no longer be allowed this fun tradition.  What could possibly be the reason?  I had heard mumblings about delay of game...locker room fuel for the other team etc...but none of that ever mattered to us fans in the old days--it was all about fan-aticism!

Well, just as I was about to start my Letters to the editor letter and ranting on the radio, I see this complete about-face from management:  "After some discussion with the league and making sure we're not breaking any rules, we have been given to green light to honor the hat tricks from the road games earlier this week. We want to make sure we are carrying on traditions of the past teams. From the office and team - we encourage you to carry on the tradition of throwing the hats after the anthem and before the puck drop. Sorry for any confusion or mix ups, see you all tomorrow! (bring your hats)"

It's on like Donkey Kong!  Thanks, Mallards for seeing the value in the fans interaction and recognition of a great individual effort!  The Quad Cities remains the greatest of hockey towns!