The practice of taping hockey sticks has been around since the early 1900s. In those days, the hockey stick was exclusively made of wood, and the tape was used to protect the blade. Even today, you can still find wood hockey-stick blades, but many are now made of fiberglass, carbon fiber, and composite materials. No matter what kind of blade a player has, he still has a valid reason for taping it. Actually, there are several ways to answer the question about why do hockey players tape their sticks.
Tape can be used to protect the stick against wear and tear. In addition, players tape their sticks to change how they feel and how they handle the puck. Also, taping a hockey stick can change how it interacts with the puck as well as how it works with the player. Please keep reading to learn more about the reasons players tape their sticks.
Reasons Why Hockey Players Tape Their Sticks
1. Protect The Hockey Stick Blade
When hockey sticks were made from wood, wrapping friction tape around them protected them from ice melt and prevented any warping of the hockey stick blade. Passing with a warped hockey stick can be challenging and that was a huge concern back in the early days of hockey. Wooden sticks are also prone to splintering, and taping helped prevented that. As composite sticks and synthetic hockey ice came into being, protection from warping due to snow and ice buildup became less of a concern. However, protecting the blade is still essential as taping the stick still assists in prevents the blade from breaking.
2. Control and Grip of the Hockey Stick
To increase control/grip on the top of the stick, taping on hockey sticks is very much essential. It can feel slippery when using composite sticks and hockey tape around the handle can help players improve their grip on their sticks. Sometimes, players use tape to create knobs on shaft ends. By placing a knob on the handle of the stick, the player can prevent the stick from falling out of their hands and easily pick up the stick when it’s dropped. By adding tape to the shaft, the player is better able to grip the stick, which helps him control the puck.
Hockey tape is added to improve the blade’s contact with the puck. The blade’s tapered surface makes it easier to control the puck and accurately pass it to a speeding teammate. Additionally, the surface tape provides more contact so the player can spin the puck easier as compared to an un-taped hockey stick blade. It can make the difference between the puck spinning into the corner of the net or landing in the glove of the goalie. Several players coat their taped sticks in
hockey stick wax or mink oil after taping them. The Wax layer can protect against snow and ice buildup when you play on natural ice. This can also allow more friction between the blade and the puck, allowing the player to control the puck more effectively.
How Do Hockey Players Tape Their Sticks
Hockey sticks are most commonly taped with cloth tapes and there is a million different colors, thicknesses, and materials. Many people recall cloth tapes as medical bandages, and they are similar to the tape used today to wrap hockey sticks.
So, how do players tape their sticks? It is possible to tape hockey sticks blades in many ways. Wrapping the tape across the blade is probably the most common. The amount of tape used, the amount of blade covered, or the width of the tape may differ from player to player. All of these factors affect the blade surface, and, therefore, the puck’s interaction with it. In some players’ opinion, wrapping tape around the blade of the stick increases the friction between the stick and the ice, making stick handling more challenging. It is possible to tape a single length of the blade to provide some additional control without causing friction between the ice and the stick.
The single strip method is particularly useful when skating on synthetic ice sheets that have become more prevalent and are available in various sizes, from custom practice areas to at-home ice rinks to full-scale training centers. If players skate on traditional ice, they should fully tape the blades so that the ice does not warp due to moisture. It is also smart to tape the blades to combat breaking and splintering.
Do All Hockey Players Tape Their Sticks?
Do all players tape their sticks? Look closely at the stick that Bobby Orr used to score the winning goal in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup championship, and you will not find any tape. He actually disliked using tape and gradually reduced the amount he used over his career. However, hockey stick tape is an indispensable part of the game, regardless of whether it’s science or superstition. In order to control the puck at the highest level possible, nearly every hockey player tapes their sticks. The puck is much more slippery on the blade of the stick without tape.
Ever wondered what the best hockey stick tapes are? Click the link and check out our article!
What Are Popular Hockey Tape Brands?
Hockey tapes made by Howies are one of the best hockey tapes available that go on easier, stay on longer, and build up less ice than conventional tapes. With its ultra-premium, high-thread-count tape, Howies has been making waves in the tape industry. Furthermore, these sticks are available in many colors, allowing you to customize them to your liking. It features an inch-wide roll and a length of 25 yards. As the tape has an advanced adhesive and high thread count, it resists snow and ice accumulation, helping you to reduce bar downtime.
With Howies, you can be sure about the quality of their products, and they offer a satisfaction guarantee. It is their promise that if you are unhappy with their product, they will either solve the problem or refund your money. You can buy Howies Hockey Tape from their official website or any leading e-commerce store like Amazon.
There is no doubt that Renfrew is a brand that has existed for years. They started their journey in 1980. They have witnessed the change from wood to aluminum to composite, and have made the tape for the stick along the way! All of these tapes are made in Renfrew, Ontario, Canada, which means they’re of the highest quality. Renfrew tape has been used by Stanley Cup contenders for over 20 years. You can buy Renfrew Pro Tape from their official website or any leading e-commerce store like Amazon.
Lizard Skins has a unique approach to their products since they do not make products to go with the blade of your stick, rather focusing exclusively on the grip. The Lizard Skin grips are available in over ten colors, and they also offer other unique grips for baseball bats that can also be used on hockey sticks. Made out of a tacky feeling Durasoft Polymer (DSP), the grip tape feels great in your hand. Just like the Howies and Renfrew, you can buy the Lizard Skin Grip from their official website or any leading e-commerce store like Amazon.
Ever wondered how to tape a hockey stick? Click the link and check out our guide!
Difference Between White or Black Hockey Tape
Though NHL players only tape their stick blades in black or white, hockey tape is available in every color. So, are there any differences between white and black stick tape? As you may know, black tape disguises the puck and makes it harder to see for the goalie. This is true as it eliminates the contrast between the puck and the blade. Although most goalies are aware of this, they tend to focus on the contrast between the black puck and the white ice. It’s not much better to use black tape than white. With white tape, you have a better view of the puck on your stick, and it looks cooler all marked up at the end of a game!
If you apply black tape to the player’s stick blade, it will conceal the look of the puck when they shoot at the goalie. Black tape is often used by star players like Sidney Crosby and David Pastrnak to collect goals and assists. Meanwhile, the white tape can blend in with the appearance of ice. The white tape also stands out in a more contrasting way than black tape, as most sticks are dark or black. There are many snipers in the game who prefer white tape for their stick blades, such as Alexander Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos. So overall there is no difference between using black or white hockey tape, it is all a matter of preference!
Tape on a hockey stick may seem a simple thing, but hockey players take it very seriously. Every year, NHL players spend countless hours taping their sticks. Since they all have different ways that they want their sticks taped, their trainers don’t do it for them. They do it themselves.