Taping a Hockey Stick
How to tape a hockey stick is a personal thing. Personal preferences include where you put the tape, how much of it to use, what parts of the ice hockey stick to wrap, and what color hockey tape to use.
You aren’t required to know how to tape a hockey stick, because you aren’t required to tape a hockey stick if you don’t want to. Here are some reasons in favor of taping hockey sticks.
Why the butt end?
Often a knob will be installed or made out of tape or a combo of lace and tape. Knobs for the hockey stick shaft can also be purchased so you don’t have to tape the butt end. These can be removed and put on the next stick you use too, so no tape is wasted there. Taping a hockey stick butt end with a knob will help you keep your top hand in place, enable you to know your hand is at the end of your stick without having to look at it, help you to keep a hold of the hockey stick, and help you retrieve it if you drop your stick.
Your grip on an ice hockey stick doesn’t change much for the various ways you use the stick, so it won’t matter if the tape at the butt end feels a bit tacky. In fact, it will help you control the stick while you put on an exhibition of stickhandling skills on ice.
Often, players wind an old skate lace down the shaft before taping the butt end, so they can benefit from the added finger slots at the top of the stick (mostly for comfort). Others spin the tape so it winds into a lace made of tape and then spiral wrap that down the top of the shaft for finger slots before taping instead of using a lace.
Taping a hockey stick shaft anywhere else, other than the butt end, is not advisable because your lower hand needs to move more freely to different places on the shaft at different times like shots and for dekes.
Why the blade?
An ice hockey stick’s blade may or may not be taped completely. Wooden stick blades can be made to last longer by protecting the glue in the plies by taping the blade. Some players prefer the feel of the puck on a taped blade better, and some only tape the spot where they carry or hit the puck the most. Taping a hockey stick will also add a bit of gription on the puck. If you look at a puck closely you’ll see its circumference is slightly knurled. If you tape from heel to toe, the edges of the hockey tape can grip the knurl to spin the puck more when shooting. Some players tape the blade of their sticks only because they prefer the sound of a taped blade. What’s your reason?
Hockey Tape Color
Some players tape the blade of their sticks with black tape to hide the puck, while others use white so they can see the puck peripherally while stickhandling. What’s your suggestion?
How To Tape A Hockey Stick For ID
The blade of your stick could identify you just as well as the number on your jersey does. You could tape your stick blade in a funky pattern so that team mates could id your stick in a crowd or while looking down at the ice if they had to pass the puck in a hurry. It could be taped in team colors, or one strip of tape like Bobby Orr used which served no function other than to identify the blade of that stick to others. If you want to know how to tape a hockey stick for ID, your stick has to be taped some way that is instantly recognizable because nobody stares at a stick blade for long in a panic situation.
How to Tape Hockey Sticks
First, if you cut the length of the hockey stick shaft, file the cut edges down to a slight rounded (beveled) edge to remove the burr. Hold the stick parallel to the ground in one hand and start at the top to wrap it, winding it down the shaft as you go around the circumference of the shaft. Wrap tape down the shaft as far as your hockey glove covers, or about six to eight inches down the shaft. Then build up a thick knob at the top end.
Some players tape the full length of the blade of the stick all the way from the heel to the toe, while others only tape a particular area. The tape will help cushion the blade of the stick when receiving the puck, and help control the puck while stickhandling and shooting. Tape a hockey stick blade from heel to toe so the edges of the hockey tape can grip the puck’s knurl to spin the puck more when shooting and passing.
A stick may need to be re-taped during a game, or after each game depending on use.
Don’t store hockey tape in the garage because extreme temperatures ruin some of its properties. For example, it will become gooey when the sticky side melts.
It is not advisable to store hockey sticks in the garage or a car in the summer (or at any time in southern climates) because of the heat. Keep sticks indoors when not in use.
Extreme heat can dry out wooden sticks making them less flexible and easier to break. It can cause composite sticks to become more brittle and even make blades come unglued. Composite blades that are different plies glued together can split and separate in heat. Tape is susceptible to drying also. You want your tape not to be ripped and it should be a bit tacky when fresh, not dried out.