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How To Tape A Hockey Stick

How To Tape A Hockey Stick

This ritual is often overlooked by beginners and kids who play hockey. Using grip tape will add control and accuracy to your shots and passes. Learning how to tape a hockey stick will stay with you forever and can evolve over time.

There are many methods of taping a stick on the blade, grip and shaft. You can customize it to your liking to get the most out of your stick and perform your best.

Use this guide to learn the ins and outs of taping correctly and do what the pros do. If they have a system that works, then it would be a good idea for us to follow suit.

How To Tape A Hockey Stick Blade

1) Gather The Necessary Tools And Materials

Before starting any job, it will make your life a lot easier if you come prepared. While taping a stick may not be as complicated as remodeling your kitchen, it still pays to set up your workstation.

This is especially true if this is your first time taping. You may see NHLers moving at lightning speed while standing on the bench, taping their stick 3 minutes before puck drop. This is because they have taped their stick thousands of times. We’re not that skilled.

Have your stick blade clear of any residual tape and any other debris. Next, select a roll of hockey tape from the sports store. Not just any tape will do; more on this later. I recommend you sit down if you’re new to this, but standing is also perfectly acceptable.

2) Select An Appropriate Color Of Tape

Select An Appropriate Color Of Tape

For any junior hockey players reading this, I strongly recommend you use white grip tape. This will help you stick handle better because of the color contrast to the puck. As you have probably heard many times already, keep your head up. You want to learn how to stick handle without looking down.

This stark contrast will help your peripheral vision see the puck better out of the corner of your eye.

Ultimately, the color doesn’t matter beyond that. White and black tape are the two most popular colors, but these days you can find hockey tape in all colors of the rainbow. If you want to match your team’s uniform and your stick handling won’t suffer, then feel free to do so.

3) Cut A Thin Strip Of Tape And Apply It To The Bottom Of The Blade

When you need to re-tape your stick, it will be because the bottom becomes frayed and starts to fall off. To prevent this from happening often, you can apply one strip of tape running the length of the blade, right on the bottom.

This will save you from having to re-tape your stick as often. Hockey tape isn’t the cheapest thing in the world, but more importantly, it’s inconvenient to have to re-tape constantly.

4) Start At The Toe Or The Heel Of The Blade

You may think this is a heated debate, but in my eyes and those of many hockey players, there is only one direction to tape your stick; heel to toe.

When you start from the heel, the overlap of the tape creates ridges that are higher on the toe side. This helps you keep possession of the puck and create more friction when stick handling. It also helps your shots to have more zip on them because it creates more spin.

Hockey Stick Taping Patterns And Methods

Hockey Stick Taping Patterns

If you are new to the game, stick to the classic tape job. You will see many NHLers using this. As you progress, you can then experiment with other methods.

The Classic Hockey Stick Tape Job

This is what you see most and it provides the best coverage where you need it. A classic tape job will leave a little bit of the heel and toe exposed but covers the middle 90% of the stick blade. This will help on all your shots but especially the wrist shot.

This can be done either heel-to-toe or toe-to-heel, but you already know what my suggestion on that is.

The Toe Tape Job

Many players support the toe blade tape job because they feel it provides a better release for their wrist shot. This method starts at the toe and then abruptly stops near the middle leaving the heel end of the blade exposed.

By having more friction at the release point, you can add some power to all your shots. With an exposed heel, you can get more feel when you’re stickhandling.

The Five Strand Tape Job

This is an updated version of Bobby Orr’s famous 2-strand tape job. The application is simple; put 5-strands of tape right in the middle of your blade. Start by identifying the very center and then imagine two strands to the heel side. Start there so you can have it perfectly centered.

The 5-strand technique is not common but can help you feel the puck better when handling. Five wraps of tape are almost the perfect width of a puck, so you’ll always know where it is without having to look down.

The Sock Tape Job

If you don’t want to leave anything to chance and are already a pretty strong puck handler, then the sock tape job might be a good fit. This gets its name because the tape applied looks like a sock has been fit over the entirety of your blade.

The tricky part here is the toe end. Once you get there, continue to tape slightly past the toe to create a square shape. Pinch the top and bottom and cut them off with scissors.

Shaft Pattern – The Candy Cane

The candy cane method is referring to the shaft of your stick. It’s meant to add grip and also help you identify where your hands lie. Start at the butt-end on a steeper angle than you would for your blade. Diagonally tape down the shaft leaving a tape’s width between each strip. The name of this method may not be creative, but it’s accurate.

How To Tape A Hockey Stick Handle Or Butt End

How To Tape A Hockey Stick Handle
There is much less science and theory when it comes to taping your butt-end. This is a comfort and feel area and each player can get a little creative as long as it does not hinder your play.

To Build Up The Knob, Start With A Napkin

Hockey stick tape is not expensive, but you also don’t want to be wasting it. Save your money for all the other equipment that hockey requires, such as your hockey stick, helmets and hockey skates for wide feet. Use a napkin or paper towel to add volume to your knob, so you avoid hundreds of revolutions with your roll of hockey tape.

Measure A Forearm-Length Strip Of Tape

This is a trick of the trade to get that ribbed look and feel that many players prefer. Measure a forearm length but don’t rip it off the roll.

Hold the end of the tape with one hand up in the air so the roll is dangling, then spin it.

This will turn your strip of tape into a rope shape that’s easy to wrap around the top of your stick.

Try To Use As Little Tape As Possible To Get The Grip You Want

A good grip doesn’t mean it has to be large; those are reserved for goalie sticks. This is just to keep your top hand from sliding off and to make your stick easier to pick up should you drop it. Less is more with the grip.

Experiment

If you have an idea for a new grip that may help you more than the traditional methods, then try it out. A new tape job could be a good luck charm for you and if it works, you may find others incorporating your idea into their tape jobs.

Smooth Out Any Tape Bubbles With A Puck

A puck has more uses than you think. Find the best hockey puck here. Once you’ve finished your tape job, use the side of a puck to flatten all creases and edges. You don’t want any moisture to get between your stick and the cloth tape, which will cause it to fall off quickly. 

Consider Other Additions

Adding a squared knob, a rounded knob, ribs or candy cane tape job are great ways to keep a firm handle on your stick. You can use any number of combinations or add in your own creations. Whatever gives you the most accurate passes and dirtiest dangles is the best tape job for you.

How To Wrap A Hockey Stick Or Taping The Shaft

Taping The Shaft

Wrapping a stick is no different than doing a blade tape job. The only difference is you must cover more area and it’s all based on personal preference. 

  • Ensure there is no debris on the stick and clean off any residue tape from the previous tape job.
  • Choose which color you want to use or any combination of more than one.
  • Start at the bottom, whether that’s the middle or the whole thing.
  • Take your time, don’t rush or you’ll end up wasting tape.
  • Taping the shaft is easier when you’re sitting down, but you don’t have to.
  • Once you’ve reached your desired length, then use sharp scissors to cut. This ensures that the cloth tape will stay attached and won’t snag on any of your equipment.

Why Do You Tape Hockey Sticks?

You tape hockey sticks for two reasons – control and grip. You will get more control over your stick handling and shot accuracy with the proper tape job. You’ll get a better grip with your top hand if you apply regular stick tape.

The blade is more important since there is some science, sound reasoning and years of experienced players doing it a certain way. You won’t find many players taping their blades from toe to heel unless they use the toe tape job.

How Often Should You Tape A Hockey Stick?

How Often Should You Tape A Hockey Stick

You should tape a hockey stick when your current cloth tape has become weakened or frayed. Tape jobs are like windshield cracks; as soon as there is a chink in the armor, it will start spreading fast.

Your grip or butt end does not need to be changed nearly as often. 

Most players prefer to keep this as-is because they used a lot of tape to create it and it would be very difficult to remove. Plus, over time, the grip will slightly mold to your hand and become more comfortable.  

How To Remove Hockey Stick Tape

To remove hockey stick tape, start at the area that has frayed. This will make it easy to get a good grip and tear the previous wrap off. Most of the time, the tape will become damaged toward the heel first. Grab it from here between your thumb and index finger and peel it off one side at a time.

Don’t try to unravel, as this will only lead to small chunks being removed at a time. For speed and to reduce frustration, always start where the damage has occurred.

Should You Use White Or Black Stick Tape?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to whether you should use white or black stick tape:

  1. Always use white tape to make it easier to see the puck when you’re stickhandling.
  2. Always use black tape to disguise the puck and make it harder for goalies to track.

If you’re a beginner, then I would suggest #1. If you’re more seasoned or an expert puck handler, then you can go with #2. The more important part is that your stick is taped correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

NHL players tape their sticks in many different ways. Sidney Crosby tapes his stick with black hockey tape with the classic method, leaving only a small portion of the toe and heel exposed. Alex Ovechkin doesn’t tape his entire blade but starts at the middle and then covers the entire toe.

Yes, you should tape your hockey stick to ensure you get the best puck control with your blade. You should also tape the very top of your stick for added grip. With the amount of snow and ice you’ll be exposed to, plus sweaty palms, losing your grip can happen very easily.

Yes, you tape a hockey stick heel to toe. This gives you extra grip on the puck when you’re stickhandling. The ridges of the tape will help keep the puck from sliding off the toe. When you are ready to shoot, this method helps to add spin so your shots will be more powerful and accurate.

NHL players use white tape because it helps them to see the puck better when they have possession. Hockey moves very fast and in the NHL, there is no time to look down at the puck. White-colored tape also helps your teammates see a pass coming from you more clearly.

Hockey players tape their sticks once the current tape becomes ripped, torn or frayed. This usually happens on the bottom edge of the blade first since that is what makes the most contact. If this happens, removing the tape and any tape residue is easy because you can easily tear it off from that point.

Conclusion

As a hockey player, learning how to tape a hockey stick is a rite of passage. Many hockey players learn this at a young age and begin to develop methods of their own. Having friction tape on your stick assists with control and accuracy. You should always tape your hockey stick and tape it correctly to play your best and help your team win.

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