How Often Should I Tape My Hockey Stick?

You’ve seen some NHL players focused on getting the perfect tape job, and when the period is over, they cut it and go through the process over again. So, should you do the same? To find the answer, you must analyze your game. 

Replace your hockey stick tape every time the bottom starts to wear off, as this will expose your blade. The tape at the butt end lasts longer, but don’t have it more than a couple of months as moisture can accumulate and remove the adhesive, rendering the tape job useless. Since hockey stick tape provides a better grip, you should tape your stick as often as you feel it helps your game.

How often you should tape your stick is the subject of debate and superstitions. To further understand this innocent-looking piece of equipment, keep reading. This article will help you improve your tape job, learn more about its effects on your game, and discover which options are the best to buy.

What is the standard for hockey tape?

Hockey stick tape, most commonly known as hockey tape, is made up of cotton or synthetic fibers. It has adhesive on only one side and can be used in any part of the hockey stick.

Hockey tape generally comes in three widths, ¾”, 1″ and 1,5″, the latter being known as goalie tape, as it’s mostly used on goalie sticks. While it comes in many colors, black and white are the most commons.

What Does Hockey Tape Do? Do I even need it?

Hockey stick tape helps provide better grip; it also grips the puck better and adds strength to the blade. The cloth-based tape is self-adhesive, with only one side containing adhesive. It’s made from either cotton cloth or synthetic fibers and can come in colors such as white, black, or even team-specific patterns and designs.

Hockey tape is the subject of many debates and superstitions. So keep reading if you want to improve your tape job, learn more about its effects on your game, and discover which options are the best to buy.

Why use white tape on hockey stick?

A longstanding debate is whether black or white tape is better. Some say black tape helps in concealing the puck from goalies. But, according to the NHL website, professional goaltenders disagree and find there’s little difference.

The other myth is that white tape is for skilled puck handlers because it’s easier for them to see the puck. Again, professional players refute this as players such as Wayne Gretzky used black tape.

Are there different types of Hockey Stick Tape?

There are two other types of tape used, but with much less frequency. Grip tape is made of cloth and can only adhere to itself and not the stick.

There are two kinds: elastic and non-elastic. Some players use elastic grip tape for a better grip. Non-elastic is considered very abrasive and can damage gloves quickly.

Then there’s friction tape, the original tape that players like Gordie Howe used. Thanks to its rubber element, it resembles more electrical tape than hockey tape. Because it’s exceptionally sticky, damages gloves and sticks, and cause the puck to stick, it’s banned in most hockey rinks.

What does hockey tape do?

Hockey tape provides many functions. The first function is for puck control; its adhesive surface creates a grip between the blade and the puck and increases feeling and handling.

Since hockey tape is thick, thanks to its cloth components, it can cushion passes and prevent the puck from bouncing wildly.

Hockey tape helps players with gripping the stick. Players tape the stick handle to prevent it from slipping from their hands. By wrapping tape several times around the butt end, you can easily create a knob that prevents your stick from sliding.

Lastly, hockey tape protects your stick, which can break easily. The use of tape helps protect the blade from slashes, faceoffs, and slapshots.

Do you tape composite hockey sticks?

Hockey tape has its origins with wooden sticks. They were fragile and would break easily; plus, they could splinter. These days, almost all players at a competitive level play with a composite stick. Some composite stick models come with a rugged surface on the blade for grip.

This option can feel limited for some players because it doesn’t provide the cushion nor the adhesive nature of hockey tape. It’s completely normal to tape a composite stick, and professional players do it day in and day out.

Is hockey stick tape waterproof?

While composite sticks will not deteriorate with moisture, players can lose their grip on the puck thanks to shaved ice accumulating on the blade. Not all hockey tapes are waterproof, but most brands offer water-resistant models, like SportsTape and Comp O Stik.

SportsTape can cost about $20 for ten, 1″ wide rolls. Comp O Stik costs about $14 for four, 1″ wide rolls. Other brands that offer waterproof tape are Renfrew Pro and TapeOwl

Moisture is inevitable when playing ice hockey, and a fast-paced game can damage hockey tape quickly. To guarantee grip, some players replace their tape between periods.

Where and how to tape a hockey stick?

Personal preference dramatically influences how you tape your stick and even leads to debate among the pros.

But there are some key steps you can follow, as Hockey Monkey explains. The first step is to have the necessary tools: the tape (width is up to you), scissors, and wax if you use it.

You can tape three main sections in a hockey stick: the handle, the shaft, and the blade. The key is to be consistent as an inconsistent job can lead to bumps, spaces, and an uneven grip.

How to tape the stick handle?

When it comes to taping the stick handle (or butt end), there are many preferences, but these are the steps to the mid-size knob, one of the most common variants.

  • Starting at the top of the stick, wrap the tape around as many times as you feel the width is right, then cut it off.
  • Then wrap the tape around the stick, slightly diagonal, for about 4 to 10 inches, depending on personal preference.

How to wrap the stick?

Some sticks have grips included in their shaft, but this might not be enough feel for players. Some players choose to wrap around the shaft for increased control and grip, with one of the most notorious examples being Phil Kessel.

If you want to tape the shaft, be sure to do so in a way that the tape job is evenly distanced so that you don’t have any bumps that might end up hindering your game.

How to wrap the blade?

This is the most essential part, as it directly affects your control of the puck. There are two distinct variations: toe-to-heel or heel-to-toe.

Should I tape my hockey stick heel-to-toe or toe-to-heel?

According to Hockey Monkey, wrapping the blade toe-to-heel will make the toe part wider. A wider toe helps control the puck and releasing the shot faster.

Using a heel-to-toe tape job might decrease the shot speed but can imprint a spin to the shot, making it harder for goalies to stop it.

However, according to USA Hockey Magazine, the difference in methods is too small to impact your game. So, it seems to be up to your personal preference.

To tape your blade

To tape your blade, start from your desired end (toe or heel), wrap the tape vertically one time around, and then overlap your tape, moving up to your desired length.

Once you’ve covered as much as you want, overlap the last wrap and cut it. Run your hand through the tape job in the direction that you prefer to catch any irregularities. Be sure not to use many overlapping layers on the blade, as they can detach easily and hinder your control.

Some players add stick wax to the tape job, which provides more grip, helps remove moisture, and increases the puck’s longevity. If you want to use wax, be sure to use it sparingly, as it can become too sticky.

What’s the best hockey stick tape?

There are a lot of hockey stick tape brands out there. Fortunately, there are plenty of sites that have reviewed them. One of the latest to do so rated their picks for the best tapes for 2020.

Their best choice is SportsTape Hockey tape. They found it’s made with superior quality materials, has excellent performance at a reasonable price.

Coming in second was Howie’s Stick Tape. It doesn’t come off quickly, handled rigorous tests, and resists water well. Brands like Renfrew, Lizard Skins, A&R, and Comp O Stick were also highly touted.

If you want to buy hockey tape, you can buy them online in stores like Pure Hockey, Hockey Monkey, and Amazon.

How much does hockey stick tape cost

On average, hockey stick tape costs between $7 to $8 per roll. You can commonly buy in bulk getting 4-10 rolls for under $20. You can go through a lot of rolls depending on how many layers you use and how often you re-tape.

As you can see, hockey tape is much more than just a tape job. It’s puck control, grip, and personal satisfaction. There are a lot of brands out there that can provide you with precisely what you need. Who knows? Maybe you’ll start trying out different tape jobs to see it improves your game.

Clinton Holley

Clinton has three boys along with his wife Maria. Each of his three boys play hockey. He continues to incorporate his family and his love of hockey into his career as a pediatrician.

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