Life on the road can be taxing for any individual, especially that of an athlete. Planes, trains, and automobiles are the name of the game and if you want to play a professional sport, well you better get used to consecutive travel. When the schedule comes out home games warrant a sigh of relief, while away sends you packing. Being on the road good entertainment isn’t always a commodity, so it’s common for players to simply create their own, especially around the teams of the NHL. Many hockey players love to pull pranks on one another, and in some cases their coaches.
The amount of time spent together creates a brotherly bond and sense of comfort among the players who in turn, take advantage of the close quarters shared with each other. Some pranks are a right of passage, while some are so outrageous you wonder what goes through their minds to think of these things. The jocular element of the hockey culture can hardly be contained once the ball gets rolling, leading to a whole new category of extracurricular activities that take place both inside the rink and out.
Here are the Top 15 Hilarious Pranks Pulled Off By NHL Players.
15 Vaseline Handshake: Guy Lapointe
Guy Lapointe is an old school former professional defenseman best known for his time on the Montreal Canadiens. He played a key role in helping the Canadians win the Stanley Cup a total of six different times. He was famous for his powerful slap shot, but also for his eccentric sense of humor. During the season once the Canadian Prime Minister at the time, Pierre Trudeau, paid a congratulatory visit to dressing room. Trudeau gave each member of the team a handshake and pat on the back, without the knowledge he had a surprise when he got to Lapointe. Lapointe had strategically coated his whole palm with a layer of Vaseline and with a nice firm grip, he slimed the countries leader. The pair of course followed up with a laugh and a towel for the Prime Minister. Not many would dare prank a prime minister but Lapointe had won enough cups that he felt comfortable to do so.
14 Cut Laces: Matt Cooke
Matt Cooke has made a name for himself along the lines of aggressive and abrasive since he started in the NHL with the Vancouver Canucks. Cooke’s playing style focuses on intentionally aggravating and getting under the skin of his other opponents, gaining him a reputation under the category of rather annoying. Despite this, he has another side to him reflecting the mischievous and joking nature of his personality. Cooke is one of the biggest practical jokers in the league and strategically picks his victims. During his time with the Pittsburgh Penguins while HBO was filming their annual 24/7 series for the Winter Classic, we got a sneak peak into one of Cooke’s pranks.
Leading to the Winter Classic, a game against the Phoenix Coyotes captures him sneaking into their locker room and cutting the skate laces of tough guy and social media phenom Paul Bissonnette. It obviously would come as a surprise when you’re trying to lace up your skates before a game and they break apart in your hand.
13 Pie’d: Alex Ovechkin on Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson is a young right-winger who was selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft 16th overall by the Washington Capitals. He started with the team in 2013 and was met by quite a few prominent figures ahead of him such as Russian powerhouse Alex Ovechkin. Upon scoring his very first NHL goal when he was officially welcomed to the team in 2013, he received a very special gift while doing post game interviews in the dressing room.
Ovie took it upon himself to pop up on camera behind Wilson and give him a classic shaving cream pie right in the face. Right before he receives the mouthful there is a brief glimmer of reorganization of what is about to happen while a crazy eyed Ovechkin perfectly times the attack. Wilson probably wasn't too upset by the prank, as it's somewhat a rite of passage for a superstar to pull a joke on you.
12 Shoe Check
One of the oldest and most popular pranks in the NHL handbook is none other than the “shoe check”. It’s as simple as it gets but still warrants a good laugh to the poor player and his shoe that falls victim to it. All you have to do is grab the nearest piece of either butter, or sour cream, basically anything along those oily lines, and discreetly head under the table. Once you sneak below all you do is smear it on the front of the presumably expensive dress shoes in target and come back out.
When the deed is done someone yells “shoe check”, and one or more poor players will find a greasy surprise. Aaron Ward, a former player, prides himself on his refined technique he perfected over the time of his career, and considered it a challenge. Many have since done this move, but Ward seems to be the one who perfected the art of the shoe check.
11 Short Skating: Guy Lapointe
Another hilarious prank from the one and only Mr. Guy Lapointe, except this time he played it on the least expecting coach at the time Scotty Bowman. Lapointe didn't care who he was pranking, be it the Canadian Prime Minsister, or the greatest hockey coach of all time. At a practice one day, Lapointe tucked a whistle into his glove just before going out on the ice. He made sure he was center of the pack during drills and secretly started to blow it to cut the skating drills short.
After a few supremely confusing sudden stops and aborted lines, it is said Bowman was pretty puzzled and then confused and angry trying to search for the culprit…who never happened to be found. You have to wonder what would happen today if someone tried to pull this prank on say, John Tortorella.
10 Re-arranging the Hotel: Mark Letestu and Ben Lovejoy
We’ve said it before and we will say it again, Matt Cooke is one of the biggest practical jokers in the league that strategically picks his victims. His favorite prank to date is yet another one done during the time of his Pittsburgh days. Mark Letestu, the team's rookie at the time, and Ben Lovejoy, a second year player, went out for dinner with a few guys while a few more stayed behind. Cooke and the stragglers decided to move all of their furniture out of the room including the bed, side table, dresser, lamp, TV, and room number plaque.
When Letestu and Lovejoy got back from dinner, they had a nice surprise waiting for them, as they were greeted out of the elevator with their entire room staged in front of them. At the end of the video it is noted, “Cooke was probably behind this”.
9 Packing the Car: Pascal Dupuis
Pascal Dupuis is a former French-Canadian left winger who was unfortunately forced to retire just last year from health concerns related to re-occurring blood clots first found in his lung. He spent the majority of his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins where he played for 10 years and has now won two Stanley Cups with the team. Before all this came into play, he was a big prankster on the team that always found himself in the middle of something. Working alongside Sidney Crosby, Max Talbot, and Jay McKee one day, they decided to pull the ultimate prank on their straight edge strength and conditioning coach Mike Kadar.
Crosby stole the keys to Kadar’s car while the others waited outside with bags of the secret weapon. While Dupuis opened the sunroof to the car, McKee stood on top holding a bag of…packing peanuts! They emptied thousands of peanuts into the car flooding the front seat and slyly walking away as if nothing happened.
8 Russian Jersey: Keith Primeau
Keith Primeau is a former professional center iceman who played across four different teams in his career. He was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in 1990 and played for eight years before relocating to Hartford Whalers, who would soon become the Carolina Hurricanes. The very Canadian Ontario native was surround by a team of Russians while he was on the Red Wings. One night, they decided to pull a prank and make him and honorary Russian by tacking an ‘ov’ to his name bar on the back of his jersey.
During warm up before a game, an unaware Primeau skated around the ice wearing a ‘Primeaov’ nameplate on his jersey fitting right into the likes of Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, and more. Detroit fans must have been wondering who this new Russian star was that the Red Wings had just signed.
7 “Team Photo”: Eddie Lack
Prank wars began to heat up and came to an all time high last year during the season between members of the Vancouver Canucks. Eddie Lack, the team’s Swedish goaltender found himself the victim of what he thought was a team photo after practice on his 27th birthday. The team gathered around Lack to take the birthday photo, placing him in the middle on one knee, presumably the least expecting place for an attack. While they surrounded Lack, rookie Bo Horvat took a giant bucket of ice-cold water and poured it on his head while they were busy “smiling” for the camera. Wow, it's not every day a rookie gets to pull off a prank, they're usually at the butt end of these jokes.
Lack was traded by the Canucks at the 2015 Draft to the Carolina Hurricanes, but it seems he was beloved by his teammates in Vancouver.
6 Toilet Waterfall: Sidney Crosby
Pascal Dupuis was presumably up to no good quite often while he played in Pittsburgh, shifting his targets to even the virtually untouchable star of the team Sidney Crosby. While on the road once, Crosby left his room for a few minutes, but just enough time for the mastermind Dupuis to sneak in and execute a prank. As told during an interview for Pittsburgh Magazine, he lifted the lid off the toilet in the bathroom and proceeded to start laughing to himself.
What might he have been doing to Sid the Kid’s toilet? Well apparently you have to take the tube out of the tank and tilt it toward where the person stands, then put the lid back on with the end of the tube sticking out just slightly so the person won't notice. Then you wait.
It just goes to show you that you're never immune to pranks in the NHL, even if you're the best player in the world.
5 Overhead Baggage: Ryan Jones
Ryan Jones is a former Edmonton Oilers right-winger, currently playing for a team oversees in the DEL. Teammate Linus Omark from Sweden, now in the KHL, was on the Oilers at the same time as Jones and found himself at the receiving end of a prank from Jones. While travelling by plane for some away games, Jones and some of the team members coaxed one of the flight attendants to hide up in an overhead bin while wearing a crazy cyclops clown mask with lots of teeth.
When a clown like figure scared Omark opened up the overhead bin, she popped out at him as Jones filmed, triggering everyone to burst out laughing at a surprised Omark who may or may not of had a heart attack. You have to wonder how big those overhead bins were. The flight attendant must have been a very petite woman.
4 Skating Along: Nathan Beaulieu
Nathan Beaulieu was a Montreal Canadiens rookie at the time he officially got his welcome to the team as it’s usually the rookie who gets ganged up on, both behind the scenes and on the ice. It’s customary every once and a while to let one poor rookie skate out on the ice first believing he is leading the rest of the team behind him before he realizes he is taking a few laps around the ice on his own.
The Montreal Canadians hit Beaulieu hard with this prank back in 2013 as he skated on the ice and got one lap in before going past the tunnel to see a group of his teammates crowded around each other laughing at his expense. It's not the first time and certainly won't be a last time that a prank like this will happen. It’s okay Nathan, Tampa Bay did it to Stamkos back in the day!
3 Snake Prank: Philadelphia Flyers
Who doesn’t love a good scare from their equipment manager around Halloween? The Philadelphia Flyers' humorous equipment manager Derek Settlemyre took advantage of his regular day-to-day routine to incorporate a little surprise for the guys. Settlemyre left a giant rubber cobra snake inside one of the team’s coolers, which is a daily go to for everyone for refreshments. Smart. Even if you are the biggest, toughest, or baddest player on the ice, this prank proves that even a fake snake can get anyone spooked. A camera was carefully placed to capture everyone’s reactions to the dressing rooms reptile addition. While Vincent Lecavalier played it off cool, goaltender Steve Mason was anything but.
It's not every day you would expect an equipment manager to have the audacity to prank a team of hockey players, so props to Settlemyre for not letting the Flyers intimidate him. There you have it folks, a snake is the ultimate equalizer.
2 Water Bottle: Dale Weise
Dale Weise is a right-winger who has played on numerous teams, currently calling the Windy City home, although he's expected to sign with a new team on July 1st. During his time on his originally drafted team, the New York Rangers, he experienced something a lot of players at some point find themselves at a mercy to, their water bottles. Presumably while he was on the ice for a shift during a game one night, another member of the team unscrewed the lid of his Gatorade bottle, but not enough for the lid to come off unless tilted to drink with pressure. When Weise returned to the bench between shifts, the camera watched as he picked up the Gatorade bottle to drink and as he squeezed, not only did the lid fly into his mouth, but he got yellow Gatorade all over himself as the players on either side of him couldn’t stop laughing.
1 I’m Pregnant!: Jonathan Toews
Finally, last but not least, the number one most hilarious, and savage, prank to have possible ever have taken place. It’s no secret the Chicago Blackhawks like to have fun with each other and create dangerous alliances among themselves. Over his career, Jonathan Toews was the receiving end of quite a bit of abuse from teammate Patrick Sharp. Sharp recalled to a ESPN Radio show what he did to Toews at a team dinner one night. “We're sitting around Buffalo [during the 2007-08 season] at a team dinner. It was about 6 or 8 of us at a table. I stole Jonathan [Toews'] phone when he was at the bathroom and changed Brent Seabrook's contact information to a girl that he was seeing the same name, so when he came back to the table I had Seabs' phone and I was texting Toews from it, saying, 'Hey this is so-and-so, we need to talk, I think I might be pregnant”.
All the guys at the table were in on the joke, and as you can imagine, Toews' mouth opened pretty wide the next time he looked at his phone and quietly slipped away from the table whiter than a ghost.