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Celebrating Maple Leafs Bobby McMann’s Surprising Hat Trick

On Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs Bobby McMahon scored a hat trick. Why is that so surprising?

Bobby McMann‘s journey to the NHL hasn’t been conventional. He’s from a small town in Wainright, Alberta, which gives him some personal connections to my other work as a university professor. A former teacher of his is currently attending a class I’m teaching at the University of Alberta. Hence, I’m a fan. He gained a lot more fans in Leafs Nation as he potted a hat trick for the Toronto Maple Leafs while the team was dealing with a much-depleted roster.

McMann took an atypical route to the NHL. He never was expected to become an NHL player, which is why he’s such an overage rookie at 27 years of age. He played in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, which is a tier below the junior leagues as analysts we are used to talking about. After he graduated, he traveled 3,584 kilometers from eastern Alberta to Hamilton, New York, to pursue a collegiate career at Colgate University.

While Colgate University is not one of the top collegiate hockey programs, it is a first-class academic university. His team didn’t have a winning season while he was there, but he had a scholarship that paid for his tuition and he did graduate. That’s not such a bad deal for a youngster from rural Alberta.

His path to the NHL was unorthodox, to say the least. However, McMann’s determination and hard work in everything eventually paid off. In January 2023, he made his NHL debut at the age of 26.

McMann on Tuesday Night Against the St. Louis Blues

On Tuesday night against the St. Louis Blues, McMann transformed from a depth roster player to the first star of the game. With key players sidelined due to illness, McMann got a last-minute call-up to be part of the Maple Leafs lineup. He jumped on the opportunity and the result was his memorable hat-trick performance that he will likely never forget.

Related: 5 Interesting Facts About Simon Benoit of the Maple Leafs

Interestingly, there was considerable luck involved in McMann’s hat trick. McMann won a puck battle on his first of the night, driving aggressively towards the net and beating Jordan Binnington. McMann secured his second by seizing an off-balance puck and swiftly launching it towards the net. His third notable play involved a zone-clearing attempt off the boards, unintentionally resulting in the puck finding its way into the empty net.

Bobby McMann Maple Leafs hat trick

At the same time, players put themselves in situations where they can be lucky. For McMann, his hat trick game was the culmination of years of stick-to-it dedication. How perfect, in this light, that each of his goals showed his tenacity and his opportunistic play.

How McMann Scored His Hat Trick

On his first goal, he battled two Blues players in the corner. He then capitalized on a fortunate bounce off the St. Louis net that froze Blues’ goalie Jordan Binnington. McMann then pushed the puck past Binnington for goal number one.

McMann’s second goal was hugely important. It came off a rebound from a blocked shot by Blues defenseman Matthew Kessel. When the puck landed at McMann’s feet near the St. Louis net, he quickly threw a blind shot from a tough angle just three feet from the goal line. The puck’s perfect trajectory landed it in the top right corner before Binnington could move. In both these first two goals, McMann showed his ability to deliver in clutch situations.

McMann’s third goal was a bank shot into the empty net at the end of the game with the Blues’ goalie pulled. It was a stroke of luck on a smart play gone a bit awry. He was attempting to clear the puck from his defensive zone without icing it. However, his shot had too much weight behind it. Without the intervention of the net, the puck would have resulted in an icing call.

What Now with McMann and the Maple Leafs?

The question now is what will happen to McMann’s ice time after his scoring success? The upside to the Maple Leafs’ patchwork lineup with so many key offensive players out with illness is that young players are getting chances they wouldn’t normally have. On Tuesday, McMann showed a measure of individual brilliance. He made the most of his 13-plus minutes of ice time during the game. Maple Leafs fans have to believe that McMann has shown enough to prove that he belongs in the NHL as a regular depth player on this Maple Leafs hockey team.

McMann’s hat-trick game was aided by some lucky moments. Still, there’s no denying the significance of his accomplishment. It’s a reminder that, for hockey players, hard work and determination can lead to unexpected successes.

Hats off (literally) to Bobby McMann and his remarkable game. Let’s hope there’s more to come.

Related: Insider Hints at Flames-Maple Leafs Non-Tanev Blockbuster Trade

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