As a hockey player on the road, you find yourself with quite a bit of free time. Predominantly this time is used to relax and prepare for the upcoming game, but sometimes it is used to stir up mischief. One of my favourite pranks to perform on the road was the “Skate Lace Hotel Prank”. This prank is a great one to pull out on the road when the team is shacked up in a hotel.
Most teams, that I have been a part of, operate in the same way. When you are on the road, coaches prepare itineraries to prove that they do more than just play solitaire in their spare time. The itineraries are mapped out with timelines, and each event has a strict start time. For example, a typical day in the middle of a road trip might look like this:
Saturday, January 1– Game @ Colorado
8:00 a.m. – Wakeup Call
8:15 a.m. – Team Breakfast @ Hotel
9:00 a.m. – Video Session
9:45 a.m. – Bus Departs for Arena
11:00 a.m. – Pre-Game Skate
12:30 p.m. – Bus Departs for Macaroni Grill
1:00 p.m. – Pre-Game Meal @ Macaroni Grill
2:00 p.m. – Bus Departs for Hotel
4:45 p.m. – Bus Departs for Arena
5:30 p.m. – Team Meeting @ Arena
7:00 p.m. – Warm-Up
7:30 p.m. – Game vs. Colorado Eagles
11:00 p.m. – Bus Departs for Oklahoma City
Sometimes you might be playing a string of games in a row on the road – making one-game stops in each spot – getting most of your sleep on the overnight bus treks in your bunk. Other times, especially if you are travelling long distances, you play two or three game sets in one city, before moving on to the next city. During these sets, you stay in hotels.
The Skate Lace Hotel Prank is set up like this:
Knowing that you’re going to have an 8 a.m. wake-up call, set your alarm for about 7:15 or 7:30 a.m. This way you can set up the prank just before your victims arise for the day. Since you probably travelled most of the night and got in at 3 a.m., or just played a gruelling first game of a set, you are going to wait until the last possible moment before getting up, grabbing a quick shower and then heading down for breakfast. That being said, you really don’t have to get up too early to set up the prank.
For the prank to work properly you have to find two pairs of your teammates that are staying in rooms directly across the hall from each other. Once you locate the two rooms, take out the skate lace and tie one end securely around one of the door handles, and tie the other end around the door handle across the hall. Make sure that there is no slack and that the lace is pulled as tightly as can be. When the two pairs of roommates wake up, shower and head down at 8:13 for the mandatory 8:15 breakfast, they will not be able to open their doors, no matter how hard they pull. If you happen to see a hotel employee in the hallway, be sure to let them know what you’re up to so they don’t call security on you or cut the lace too early and ruin the prank.
Now all you have to do is go downstairs to breakfast with the team and wait. Most coaches are proud of their itineraries and take them very seriously. They set timelines and expect everyone to show up on time. Even if the coaches are lax, players police themselves with fines for being late to mandatory team functions. After the victims of the prank finish panicking, cursing who they think got the better of them and call down to have someone come up and cut the lace, they will enter the dining room to a round of jeers from their peers and head shakes from their coaches.
Remember though, if you like to play the role of prankster, you better be ready to take it as and good as you give it. Athletes are proud, stubborn animals and vengeance is always the best medicine. Like the old saying goes, “Live by the sword, die by the sword.”