How To Tape Your Ice Hockey Stick
If you look at all pro ice hockey players’ sticks, they all look different. They’re made by different manufacturers, with varied flex ratings, and come in assorted sizes and colours — but one thing they all have in common: they are almost always taped, and the taping of a stick is as individual as the numbers on a player’s back, with some weird and wonderful tape jobs out there across hockey!
There are heaps of benefits to taping your stick, but while it may seem simple to do, it’s a surprisingly complex subject, and there are a few things to know first to get it right.
To help you out, we’ve broken down why taping is worth it, what tape to use, and how to tape your hockey stick like a pro!
Why Should You Tape Your Ice Hockey Stick?
Back when wood hockey sticks were the only option on the market, taping your blade would protect the wood against splintering and moisture damage from the ice. Taping still serves this purpose in the age of composite sticks, protecting the blade from cracks and damage.
Taping also ‘softens’ the blade, providing a cushion that makes accepting a pass much easier for players. The tackiness also makes puck control and handling more precise, for more accurate passes and shots. And, depending on how you tape the stick, some players believe that where and how you tape a blade can affect how the puck comes off the stick, too, as the tape imparts a force all its own on the puck, depending on how you tape it.
What Tape Is Best For Hockey Sticks?
Hockey Tape is the clear choice for taping your hockey stick. It is typically a cotton/poly blend for extra cushioning, with an adhesive that removes all residue from your blade. Other options include cloth friction tape, athletic tape or specialist products like Reztek; we recommend avoiding duct tape as it tends to make a mess.
There are loads of different coloured hockey tapes to suit your style, but sticking to black or white is smart. Using black tape might make it harder for a defender to steal the black puck off you, and using white tape might camouflage your blade enough to make it harder for a goalie to anticipate your shot.
How Often Should You Re-Tape Your Hockey Stick?
For optimal performance in puck feel, you should remove and apply new tape for every game; most pros re-tape for every practice!
For more inexperienced players, stick protection is the primary goal of the tape, so it should be replaced whenever it starts to wear away and fray along the bottom edge of your blade.
How To Tape Your Hockey Stick
To tape your hockey stick, you will need:
If you have previously taped your stick, remove the old tape first.
There’s no single ‘correct’ way to tape your stick, as it all comes down to personal preference, but however you tape it, taping from heel to toe makes it easier to trim and leaves the tape seams facing the heel. This means that the puck will also spin off the blade more easily, which some players think help with control.
The following description is of a standard “full blade” tape job, which is perfect for most players.
- Start with the tape half an inch from the top of the blade, on the backside.
- Wind the tape up and over the top, down the front, and up the back, overlapping as you go.
- If you prefer to leave the toe exposed, tear the tape, so it overlaps the top and stops on the front of the blade. If you look at sticks in pro hockey, you’ll see some players only tape half the blade, either the heel or the toe, but this is, again, personal preference depending on where you prefer to handle the puck or even how you shoot and pass. Particularly when starting out, most players are best served by taping the majority of the blade!
- If you prefer to cover the whole blade, make a few extra passes beyond the end of the toe. Press the excess together, then trim with scissors.
Willies Pro Tip: For extra protection and a softer feel, make your overlaps tighter. If there are bubbles or ridges in your tape, either smooth them out as you go or start over, as they could affect your puck handling.
Should You Wax Your Hockey Stick?
Once you’ve taped your hockey stick, you can prolong the tape's life by waxing your blade. The wax provides a watertight barrier to stop the tape from getting wet and unravelling, as it also helps the seams to lie down better once coated.
You can get wax specially formulated for hockey blades, which tend to be on the stickier side, helping with puck control and precision. If you want to get creative, you can also improvise with candle wax, which will do the job.
To apply to your blade, simply rub your wax along the bottom, front and back faces for extra control and feel.
Tape & Wax Your Stick Like A Pro