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How Do You Tape A Hockey Stick?

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Everybody knows you’ve got to tape your hockey stick, right?

The reasons are obvious: Tape makes a stick easier to hold. Tape “softens” the blade, making it easier to corral a pass, lets the puck linger in your cagey control, or allows you to snap a precise wrister through the five-hole. Tape protects the blade, helping it survive the brunt of your cannonading slap shots.

That last one is especially important in this age of one-piece composite sticks, even the mid-range versions of which can easily run more than $100.

Sticking Points

Look, no one is going to stop you from using duct tape on the knob of your stick. But, if your gloves get all gummed up with oozing adhesive, don’t blame us.

Standard hockey tape is made of cloth. It can be used on the grip or the blade. It is widely available. There are two sizes: 1-inch (thin) and 1.5-inch (thick), the latter of which is generally used by goalies.

Some players prefer grip tape on the handle, which is spongier than hockey tape. Tennis players use a lot of this stuff.

Athletic tape, gaffers tape and friction tape aren’t unheard of on either end of the stick. Electrical tape is usually not wide enough to be used easily, but will do in a pinch.

And, yes, there are all kinds of colors available. But remember, the puck is black. Black tape might make it harder for a defender to easily pick your pocket. Also remember, the ice is white. White tape may disguise your blade, making it more difficult for goalies to read your shot.

Get a Grip

Taping grips is a bit of an art, because there’s some construction involved.

One of the objects in taping the grip is to build up a knob at the butt end of the stick. When one hand comes off the stick, having that knob is like a knot at the end of a rope — a little something extra for the remaining hand to hold onto.

Figure a good 20 directly overlapping courses at the end of the stick. You might prefer something bigger to grab, in which case you’d do a few more laps.

From there, wind a single, slightly overlapping (or heavily overlapping, depending on your preference) course of tape at least as far as your top gloved hand extends beneath the knob.

Some players like a softer grip, so they’ll overlap the hockey tape with grip tape. The grip tape tends not to hold as well as hockey tape, so pinning down the bottom with a quick lap of hockey tape isn’t a bad idea.

Making the Blade Grade

Start taping at the heel. Stick the tape to the front of the blade, with the end extending a half-inch or so over the top of the blade and adhering to the back. Wind down the front side and up the back side. If you want a slightly softer feel and more durable protection, you will want to almost completely overlap successive winds, then smooth out any pockets or ridges as you go. Toe to heel is also an option – follow the same pattern, but start at the toe!

Some players prefer to stop short of the end of the blade. If you do that, tear the tape so that it just overlaps the top of the blade.

If you tape the entire blade, make a few extra passes past the end. Firmly press together the excess tape and fold it back and forth across the end of the blade before trimming. Some players then like to take a puck and scrape, as a contractor might a wallpaper blade, against the top, bottom, sides and end of the tape job to better ensure adherence.