In the Sharks' 25 years in the NHL, Sharks players have scored 53 hat tricks in the regular season, including Joel Ward's on Saturday. That number doesn't even include the playoffs, making it a daunting task to narrow the list of hat tricks in Sharks history down to five for the latest installment in our "Five for 25" series.
5. Welcome to San Jose, Dany Heatley (Sharks vs. Blue Jackets, October 8, 2009)
It's hard to imagine a better debut in front of your home fans than Dany Heatley's in 2009. Acquired in a blockbuster trade the previous summer, Heatley was brought in to be an elite scorer on Joe Thornton's wing. Heatley and the Sharks had struggled in the first couple games of the season, but a return home proved to be the remedy, as Heatley's hat trick led the Sharks to a 6-3 win in their home opener. Heatley didn't live up to expectations in teal, but his home opening hat trick, capped off by a dramatic penalty shot, was quite the introduction to Sharks fans.
4. Patrick Marleau sets the tone against the Avalanche (Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche, April 22, 2004)
Going into the Sharks' 2004 Western Conference semifinal series against Colorado, Patrick Marleau already had a playoff hat trick under his belt, scoring all three of the Sharks' goals in a game 2 win over St. Louis in the first round. Against an Avalanche team featuring Joe Sakic, Teemu Selanne, and Peter Forsberg, Marleau gave his most impressive performance to date, leading the Sharks one step closer to their first Western Conference finals appearance in franchise history.
3. Jonathan Cheechoo clinches the Rocket Richard against the Ducks (Sharks vs. Ducks, April 5, 2006)
It's hard to pick just one of Jonathan Cheechoo's franchise-leading nine career hat tricks, but his last of his Rocket Richard-winning season was arguably his most important. Cheechoo was racing neck and neck with Jaromir Jagr for the Rocket Richard, and the Sharks needed a win against the Ducks to clinch the fifth seed in the playoffs. Cheech delivered, posting two assists in addition to his three goals for a career-high five points in a game, as the Sharks downed Anaheim 6-3. Even more fitting? It was Cheechoo's third hat trick against the rival Ducks that season.
2. Mike Ricci's Hat Trick on Fan Appreciation Day (Sharks vs. Dallas Stars, April 7, 2001)
In a game that can only be described as the Sharks' marketing department's dream, Mike Ricci scored a hat trick on Fan Appreciation Day in 2001, when the game's giveaway was a hat. Adding even more drama, Ricci tied the game with 3.6 seconds left in regulation, tipping a point shot past then-public enemy number one Ed Belfour, cuing an downpour of free hats to rain from the stands.
1. "This is dream, no reality" (Sharks vs. Rangers, October 8, 2013)
Could it really have been anybody else? In just his third NHL game, Tomas Hertl scored four goals in a 9-2 rout over the New York Rangers, becoming the first 19 year old to score four goals since 1988, sending the hockey world's curmudgeons into a tizzy, and with one of the most adorable post-game press conferences in recent memory. Oh, and did I mention he did it all in front of his mother, visiting from the Czech Republic? It doesn't get any better than that.