Ask any two hockey players how they tape up their stick before a game and you’ll probably get two different answers. Tape jobs, like everything in hockey, are ultimately a question of personal preference. Not sure what your own style is yet? Here are some helpful tips to consider before taping up your first piece of lumber.
What we cover:
Things You’ll Need
- A stick
- Hockey Tape (any poly/cotton blend)
- Stick wax, surf wax, or old candle wax
How to Tape the Blade
Any good tape job begins with an ample amount of tape at your side. Before you start taping though, it’s important to consider where you want to actually put your tape and how you want it to interact with the stick and puck.
Tape Style #1: The Standard Job
If you’re looking for the tape job that 99% of puck players use today, your best bet is to follow the conventional train of thought. Start off around an inch from the toe of your blade, wrapping your tape firmly around the blade, without creases or bubbles, and overlapping your previous layer of tape by no more than a quarter-inch or so. Grab your scissors and cut off your tape once you’re roughly an inch from the heel and wrap it around the top of your blade so that its firmly in place.
Tape Style #2: The Ovi
If your looking to pay tribute to the great Alexander Ovechkin, the first thing you’ll need to do is replicate his famous, toe heavy, tape job. Nobody truly knows the secrets behind Ovi’s work, but here’s our best bet. Start off your tape job roughly at the halfway mark of your blade, taping towards the toe as you would during a normal tape job. As you approach the end of your stick, wrap the remaining tape completely around the toe, pressing down on the areas that don’t cover the toe. Grab some scissors, cut off what overlaps, and press down on the remaining tape by the toe. Now, grab your tinted shield, change your last name to something Russian, and get ready to snipe.
Tape Style #3: The Minimalist
Feeling risky? Why not skip tape all together. The minimalist look was most famously coined by the legend himself, Bobby Orr, who used only two strips of tape near the heel of his blade. Today, future greats like David Pastrnak have carried the torch onwards using only three stripes of tape on the toe of his stick. Not quite Orr or Pastrnak yet on the ice? Save yourself the chirps and stick with a standard tape job.
How to Tape the Butt:
No good tape job is complete without some form of tape around the upper end of your stick. If you’re not Phil Kessel (see picture), here’s how this process should look.
Using what’s left from your tape roll, tear the tape in half on the roll and begin to wrap tape around the shaft so that it slowly forms a protruding “knob.” From there onwards, it’s all personal preference. Some players choose bigger knobs than others, some prefer to wrap tape that’s been torn in half around the upper end of their shaft in certain patterns, and others prefer no tape at all.
Other Helpful Tips:
- Looking for extra control up top on your stick? Many players choose to take a foot or more of tape and twist it into a rope which they use as a base layer underneath their primary tape job.
- Nervous about a broken or chipped shaft? Throw a few strips of tape down low by the heel of your shaft for increased protection.
- After you finish your tape job, grab some wax (Stick wax, surf wax, or old candle wax) and use it to flatten/compress your tape. You can also use a puck to achieve the same effect.
- If you want a faster release off your blade, wrap toe-to-heel. If you want more spin, wrap heel-to-toe
- Looking to trick your tendy? Think about black tape. More invested in your sty? White’s the popular look.
- Feeling confident? Don’t be scared to try your own tape pattern! Rules are made to be broken, after all.