ESPN Kids Writer Mailbag week of 5/25

Q: What does an icing mean? Adam from Gallatin, TN
A: Adam, icing is when a player shoots a puck out of the defensive zone and it goes untouched across two red lines on the playing surface. When the referee calls icing, the puck is brought back into the defensive zone for a faceoff. One of the reasons why icing takes place is so that teams can't simply clear the puck over and over again and the game will be more fluid.

Q: Who are the original six teams in hockey? Kristian from Atlanta, GA
A: Kristian, the original six hockey teams are the Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins, New York Rangers and Chicago Blackhawks. These teams composed the core of the National Hockey League between 1925 and 1967, although other teams did play in the league during this period. The period after 1967 is known as the Expansion Era, when many other teams joined the NHL.

Q: Why is scoring three goals called a hat trick? Janine from Austin, TX
A: Janine, according to the Hockey Hall of Fame, the term "hat trick" originated in the 1940s in Toronto. A player for the visiting Chicago Blackhawks was in a store and wanted to buy a hat before his game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The player didn't have any money, so the shopkeeper said that he would give him the hat if the player scored three goals that night. The player scored four goals that night, and the shopkeeper gave him the hat for free.

Q: I was watching the Red Wings game and the fans threw an octopus on the ice. Why? Marcus from Pittsburgh, PA
A: Marcus, throwing an octopus on the ice at Red Wings games is a tradition that has been around since the 1952 playoffs. A fan who owned a seafood store hurled an eight-legged octopus onto the ice, supposedly as a symbol for the eight wins the team needed to win the Stanley Cup that season. The Red Wings went out to win eight games in a row and win the Stanley Cup.

Q: How long has the Stanley Cup been around? Trevor from Lansing, MI
A: Trevor, the Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy in professional sports. It was established in 1893, when a Canadian politician named Lord Stanley donated the trophy to the best amateur hockey club in Canada. Since then Lord Stanley's Cup has had many adventures, but still stands as a respected symbol for excellence in hockey.

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