by Derek Worlow
If you’re a hockey player, you’ve probably seen a handful stick-taping techniques over the years. Maybe you’ve even tried a few before settling on your go-to method -- everyone has a preference. With NHL players, it’s no different.
For example, legendary defenseman Bobby Orr used to use a single strand of tape along his blade. Orr wrote in his memoir, “…I liked the feel of the puck on the blade without any tape at all. So the idea came to me that if I had to have tape on my stick, I would use as little as possible. Over the years, I used less and less until I was down to a single stripe. And eventually I ended up with no tape at all.”
So whether you opt for no tape, you’re a heel-to-toe guy -- or the reverse -- it all comes down to preference. But if you’re looking for a new way to tape up your blade, we did some research on how some of the biggest names in the league do it. Read on to learn more.
One of the most popular hockey players on the planet keeps his stick clean with a toe-covered tape method. When wrapping the blade, Ovi covers the toe and works his way to the heel. He then cuts off the excess, and rubs a puck against the blade to make sure the tape is firmly adhered to the surface. In doing so, Ovi believes that believes that the residue on the tape will grip the puck better when he’s on the ice.
The 2014-15 Art Ross winner rocks a simple tape job on his hockey stick with a method known in the game as “The Grinder.” The Dallas Stars winger scored 79 points last season, and he did it with a minimal tape job concentrated in the center of his blade -- better known as the “sweet spot.” To tape your stick like Benn, take a roll of tape and wrap the center of your blade three times. Immediately after, he likes to use his hands to smooth out the tape along the blade’s surface.
Widely considered the ugliest tape job in the NHL, Boston Bruins winger David Pastrnak takes three strips of wide black tape and places them toward the toe of the blade. A wider, overlapping strand is followed by two other strips with a slight space left between each strip. When asked about his egregious taping method, Pastrnak simply said, “I don’t really care about my tape.” Ultimately, Bruins fans shouldn’t care -- Pastrnak’s taping doesn’t seem to have any negative effect on his game. He notched a career high 80 points last season, including 35 goals.
Starting an inch from the toe, Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Kane wraps his blade in thick white tape. He doesn’t like overlap, so he keeps each new wrap tight against the previous strip. Kane’s is perhaps the most conventional taping method on this list, although he does begin his tape job from the toe, while most players start from the heel. Similarly to Ovi, Kane then takes a puck and runs the rubber against the front and back of the blade to assure the tape is firm against the surface.
Shoutout to SidelineSwap seller and AHL standout, Colin Blackwell
We recently had a visit from our friend Colin Blackwell, a former Harvard player and current AHL stud who’s working his way up to the Show. Blackwell has his own unique tape job that we’ve dubbed, “The Mid-Calf.” Take a look at this thing -- it’s like his stick is wearing a sock. To watch Blackwell tape his blade, click here.