The Phoenix Purple Coyotes

By Adam Sheehan

Editors Note: Adam was an Equipment Manager in the NHL for years. He’s worked for the Phoenix Coyotes, Carolina Hurricanes and the Detroit Red Wings. Adams was also the Head Equipment Manager for Penn State University Hockey. This story comes from Adam’s time with the Phoenix Coyotes.

It happened during the 2001-02 season. The Phoenix Coyotes were on a road trip and anyone who is injured doesn’t travel with the team. So, a few of the guys were still in Phoenix.

We had a practice rink, which had a second set of gear for the players so we didn’t have to transfer stuff back and forth to the game rink all the time.

Todd Simpson

Todd Simpson was one of the players who wasn’t on the road trip and was looking to pull a prank. He got his hands on some of the powder dye that the FBI and banks use to protect money.

Allegedly, he got the powder from an old teammate. Anyways, when the powder gets wet, it’s turns purple, VERY purple

So, Todd, being the epic prankster that he is, sprinkled some in each players gloves while the guys were out of town.

Fast forward to the next practice…

A few guys always get dressed early and get on the ice. So, the next thing we know, one of the players comes into the equipment room, I’m pretty sure it was Landon Wilson, and his hands and wrists were all purple.

All the equipment managers were shocked and they were trying to figure out what the fuck was going on. Landon tried to wash it off but it only got worse. Obviously, everyone got a laugh out of it, but no one really knew what had happened.

As more guys got on the ice, it seemed to have spread like a brush fire. Guys were coming off the ice with purple arms, legs, chests, it was even on their foreheads.

My guess is the night the team got back, they hung the skates and turned on the fans for everything to dry overnight. It must have blown the powder all over the room. Next thing you know, the carpets, players stalls, practice jerseys, helmets, gloves, you name it, pretty much everything was purple!

After practice, guys come off the ice and we were trying to figure out what to do with all the gear. It was hilarious.

The guys laughed it off but our head equipment manager, Stan Wilson, absolutely snapped. I had worked around Stan for 10 years and we’ve been friends ever since, but I’ve only seen him snap twice since I’ve known him.

At the time nobody knew who pulled this off.

There was a team dinner that night and the trainers were always invited but Stan refused to go unless someone took responsibility. Simmer (Todd Simpson) ended up writing a check to replace everything that was damaged and couldn’t be replaced.

Meanwhile, players’ hands, arms, foreheads, legs, faces etc were stained purple! It literally took weeks for it to finally wash off.

Obviously, Todd didn’t intend for it to go as far as it did but man, that was one of the craziest pranks I’ve ever seen. If camera phones existed back then, it would have been awesome!

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