So you have your brand new composite hockey stick. You are ready to get out there and start sniping goals, saucing passes, and taking booming one timers! But first – You need to tape that hockey stick! Tape jobs or “TJ’s” as some call them are an important and subjective topic in hockey! Some people view taping their stick as a necessity, some view it as an art. Do you choose black, or white stick tape? Do you start from the toe or the heel? Do you tape the middle of the whole thing? There are tons of variations to try, so we will break down the different ways people tape the top of their stick and the blades, and give you some pictures and video links to help out!
Should You Use White or Black Stick Tape?
The age old debate – white or black?
For Blades – Some people claim black tape helps disguise the puck on your stick. Others claim it does no such thing. What are our thoughts? As you move up to higher and higher levels of hockey, goalies will be less concerned with where the puck is on your stick and will be assessing your body language, body positioning, and where your eyes are looking. So in the end, black stick tape MAY help, but we really think the choice is up to you and will have no different overall. Really, if the goalie is focusing directly at your blade and where the puck sits on it, he has bigger issues!
For Shafts – For the top of your shaft, or the ‘knob’ of your stick, white is a pretty universal choice. Black stick tape can stain your gloves, some people claim the black dye can break down palm materials, while I haven’t personally witnessed or tested either of those claims, Go with white and save the hassle!
How To Tape The Top Of Your Stick
The ‘knob’ of your stick, or the top, is a critical part as it is where the majority of your stick handling control comes from, as well as half of the equation in taking shots. That being said, it is important for you to find a tape job that suits your liking. There a few preferences people lean towards and we will break them down below
To Knob or not to Knob – At the very top of your stick, some players prefer to tape a little knob at the top, which in theory offers better top hand grip. I typically see defensemen tape their sticks this way, employing this tactic who will for sweeping pokes checks, to give them additional grip. See our two picture below illustrating the difference. Also, it is very typical to see a goalie put a massive knob at the top of his goalie stick!
Twirls or no Twirl? – To enhance grip on the whole contact area, you can employ the ‘twirl’ technique on your shaft. That is, to let the tape hang down about two or three feet, and spin it in circles until it makes a tight rope like formation, which you wrap around the top six to twelve inches of your stick. This is a very commonly employed technique, and isn’t position dependent. See our pictures below to illustrate the difference!
Cloth Tape For Grip - A Good Idea?
Using a cloth like tape for the top of your knob was very popular for a while, and some people still love to use it. The Cloth tapes have a softer, tackier feel than regular stick tape, and are also easier to take off and re apply. They also come in many different colors for those looking to customize their stick. We are neither for nor against the cloth tape job – grab a roll and try it out to see how you like it!
Should You Use A Stick Grip?
Hockey is an ever evolving sport, and to be honest, tape and tape jobs didn’t evolve much until very recently! You now have the option to buy and install ‘grips’ on the top of your stick. Many of these offer better grip, less wear on gloves, and some are even re-usable making them a money saver over time as well! You will have to determine yourself if a grip is for you by buying and testing one. We made a full breakdown of the top hockey stick grips in the game so click on the link to check them out!
How To Tape The Blade Of Your Stick
There are several ways of taping the blade of your stick, and we will go through the three most common styles we have seen, as well as a bonus style at the end. Taping the blade of your stick gives you control over the puck when it is on your blade, and is crucial for stick handling. Many players will put a coat of wax on their tape afterwards to help slow the buildup of snow and ice, which is also important. NHL players will often tape their stick every intermission, or even rotate through sticks in a game to keep that blade tape job fresh! Once you play in enough mens league games or have a child playing, you will see how the snow and ice builds up over an ice time when using just one stick or tape job. When you aren’t playing high level hockey it usually just becomes something you have to deal with as using a roll of tape a game just doesnt make sense financially, when you are just out there to have fun!
The Classic Blade Tape Job
This one is simple – Start your tape job near the heal of your blade, and work your way about an inch from the toe. Always start and finish your tape job at the top of the blade! Typically hockey players will cover half of the previous strip with a new strip as you work your way towards the toe, ensuring full and even coverage. Before you know it you will be taping your blade in a minute flat! This one is quick and efficient, and is suitable for kids hockey sticks as they won’t go through as much wear and tear as faster paced teenager or adult hockey!
'Protect The Toe' Tape Job
Sometimes I see people put a line of tape starting from the heel all the way to the top of the blade. This can give the bottom of the tape where your stick rubs on the ground a bit of extra padding for wear and tear. It can also provide a touch more protection to the tip of the blade where it tends to crack. I will say in recent years I have had fewer and fewer blade toes crack on me, really speaking volumes to how manufacturers have stepped up the durability of their sticks. After you have put your strip along the edge of your blade, simply follow the instructions above doing a classic tape job over top!
The Professional Tape Job
Some people treat their sticks and tape jobs like they’d treat their hair, or their car, or some other inanimate object that they love and hold dearly. This tape job is how they carefully and precisely cover their entire blade, not leaving one spot un-taped. Doing this style of tape job will require a pair of scissors to complete it properly! You will start as if doing our classic tape job, but when you get to the toe you will keep going, folding the tape over to make a square shape past the blade. Once you are done, fold the tape back and forth over the toe to seal the tape job, and finally cut the tape and you are finished!!
Should You Use Stick Wax?
Back when we were kids, it was common to see people using candles to wax their sticks as that was the best thing we had. Thankfully, better products have since come onto the market. Stick wax comes in many shapes and forms, and we recommend using it especially if you aren’t cycling through different sticks during your game. They can make a big difference in keeping snow and ice off your stick over a long practice or game, and one piece of wax should last you at least half a season, so it is a good investment for five to ten dollars!
We hope this article helped you out! If you have never taped a stick before, don’t expect your first time to be perfect, but know that after a few times practicing you will be a pro!