Hockey is one of the extreme sports. You have to be very rough and tough to survive in the game. Hockey players need to be the best at their balance. Their movements should be in control of them. To be in control of every action, they try to do a set of things common across the globe.
We see ice hockey players tape their sticks. If you are a new player, this curiosity might be eating you inside.
In this article, we will be discussing “Why do hockey players tape their sticks?“. If you are new to the hockey world, you will learn some tips and tricks by the end of this article.
Why do hockey players put tape on their sticks?
There are plenty of reasons behind it. We will take five out of many.
6 Reasons Hockey Players Tape Their Sticks
- Saving the Surface: The hockey stick makes repeated contact with the puck. As a result, the upper part of the body gets terrible day by day. You will notice small fragments of the surface are splintered away. The lifetime of the stick gets smaller due to this. Players tape to increase the lifetime of their sticks.
- Saving the shape: Ice hockey sticks have to deal with ice sprinkles a lot. As the sticks are made out of wood, the ice sprinkles cause moisture absorption. If the rink is not sealed, that would also cause moisture absorption to the bat. Thus, the stick may warp in some cases. Players tape their sticks to prevent this moisture issue.
- Puck Control: The wood-made stick gets slippery often. The fiberglass surface is not helpful with the puck. Most of the players find it challenging to direct the puck with a naked stick. They tape the stick to decrease the rate of bounce-offs. The tape helps to grip the puck, and shots get accurate.
- Strengthens the stick: When a player taps a stick with layers of tape, the stick gets heavier. It gives the player a solid feel with the hockey bat. Naturally, the stick gets an additional weight, which allows the player to make harder short with lesser effort.
- Protection: Except for the expensive hockey sticks, most of these are made of wood. The blade takes hit after hit with the puck. The edges of the blades can break into small pieces, lowering the life of the stick blade. Players tape around the blade to decrease the aftermath. The hockey tapes hold the structure of the stick well enough to survive a long time playing. It also prevents breakage.
- Grip: Players must have a better grip with the bat. Grip tapes are widely available in the market. Players make a knob for holding the stick with one hand. The size of the knob or the grip depends on the players. They pursue and customize the grip with tapes like grip tape, hockey tape, etc.
How to tape a hockey stick?
Hockey sticks deal with all the hard hits and rough shots. Taping helps the structure to be intact. You don’t need to learn astrophysics to tape your stick. Just follow the below steps and get the work done.
- Gathering materials:
You have to gather the necessary materials and get into the work. I have mentioned alternative ingredients of a particular material. So, the users can do the task with available materials. So, let’s see what you will need to tape a Hockey Stick:
- Cloth tape
- Scissors/ sharp blade/ sharp knife
- Stick wax/ old candle wax
- Selecting tape: Though black and white color tapes are mostly popular among NHL players, there is almost every color of tape available. However, the color and style of the tape make One’s hockey distinctive from other gears. So, the user can easily pick his stick even in a crowd of hockey sticks.
Black Tape: The use of black tape on the stick’s blade has several plus points. One of the main advantages is that when a Hockey player is shooting at the goaltender, the Black tape can hide the arrival of the Hockey puck. So, other players will hardly understand that you have got the control of the puck which leaves you with a great advantage. Celebrity players like Sidney Crosby and David Pastrnak use black tape to score and assist on numerous occasions.
White Tape: While most of the Hockey Sticks are either black or dark color, the white color blade gets flawlessly blended with the white ice surface. If you are a fan of Alexander Ovechkin or Steven Stamkos, You must know that they use white tape on the Hockey stick blades.
- Wrapping: Start taping from the Hockey Stick’s blade to other parts of the Hockey stick. In the following section, a more detailed description is given.
How to tape a hockey stick handle or butt end?
One may be more accustomed to seeing the blades of a hockey stick taped. But the top of the stick can also be taped for various reasons. The major two reasons are mentioned below:
- Better Grip: Most of the time, wood is the main material of hockey sticks. If you have a sweaty hand, it gets difficult to maintain grip. So, many players tape the top part of the stick to have a better grip on the stick.
One should know that the middle part of the stick doesn’t get taped since stick-handling and shooting require the bottom hand to be able to move up and down the shaft.
- Pick up off the ice: During playtime, a hockey stick can get easily slipped off the hands. But it is more difficult to pick up the stick, especially when it is lying flat on the icy surface. Therefore, players put a thick layer of tape at the end of the stick to easily pick the stick from the ground.
To tape the stick, first, you have to know your need. There is no specific rule to tape your blade. If you need a grippy handle, buy a roll of grip tape for a soft feeling at the handle. If you find trouble receiving a puck at your blade, do not hesitate to lap a thick layer of tape on your blade.
How many tapes should be used?
There is no fixed boundary for the tape to be used. It is dependable on the individual players. Many players want more laps than just a few, and many want soft.
In general, it is ideal to tape 7″-9″ at the handle. For taping the blade, experts suggest taping from heel to toe.
The amount of the tape is dependable on the player; extra laps will need extra tape. You will need more tapes on the handle and at the blade portion. If your stick does not hold well in your hand, you should use grip tape more on the handle. A full roll of white leather tape should do the job for you.
On the blade, you should try hitting the puck and absorb the idea of the depth of the tape layer. It would help if you remembered that the blade would be dealing with the puck. The tape will break or loosen often. Buy an extra roll of black leather tape for the blade only. You might need to tape at random times while the tape is torn after several matches.
How to tape a hockey stick handle or butt end?
The stock grip may get slippery after a few matches. Professional players tape their stick handle to generate grip to hold the stick tighter.
It takes 10-15 mins to tape the butt end of a stick.
Steps to tape the hockey handle:
- Naturally, you have to tape 6-7 inches of the shaft.
- Take a roll of hockey tape.
- Take about two feet of long tape out without cutting it off the roll.
- Twist the unrolled tape.
- Do a lap with the twisted tape at the top of the but end.
- Do not cut the tape but lap and make revolutions.
- It should take three to four laps at a forty-five-degree angle to cover 6-7 inches of the shaft.
- Cut the tape loose at this point.
- Unroll a pair of plain tape of 8″.
- Place it firmly on the two sides of the shaft. It will hold the twisted tape intended for grip.
- Take the tape now. Unroll and make revolutions. The density of the laps depends on you. Keep doing laps till the whole 7-8 inches area is covered.
- Cut the tape. You have finished taping the stick handle.
Do All Hockey Players Tape their Sticks?
While most Hockey Players do tape their hockey sticks, it is not mandatory for all. There are numerous positive sides to taping the stick. It helps a player not only to enhance better delivery but also protect the stick from regular tear and damage. Therefore, top hockey players such as Nikita Kucherov, Sidney Crosby, and David Pastrnak are often seen taping their sticks. Click here to know about the best Hockey stick tape.
In contrast, if you remember the hockey stick that Bobby Orr used to make the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the 1970 Stanley Cup, there was no tape on the stick. Because Bobby didn’t like all those taping on the stick and gradually quit the habit of taping the stick. So, if a player will tape his stick or not, largely depends on one’s personal preference.
How to tape a hockey stick blade?
Taping the hockey stick blade is easier than the butt end. Just remember, the color of the puck is black. If you tape the blade with black hockey tape, you will be able to deceive the opponent’s defender.
Steps to tape a hockey stick blade:
- Unroll about 8 inches of the tape and place it under the blade. It should be placed from heel to toe keeping the blade in the middle.
- Cut the tape. Start unrolling and lapping around the blade. You can start from heel or toe, it doesn’t matter.
- If you start from the toe leave around ½” from the from.
- Keep and lapping and focus on the density of the revolutions. Do not leave space so that the blade can be seen.
- Tape around 6-7 inches in the length, overlap twice, or thrice as per your preferences.
Taping is very necessary to extend the life expectancy of the stick as well as the comfort of handling the stick. A question may arise why don’t the manufacturers don’t attach the tape. The answer would, it varies from player to player. That’s why the manufacturers don’t tape on their own. Additionally. players love to tape their sticks on their own.
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