Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography
Walk into any locker room and chances are you won’t see two tape jobs that are identical. As players can be superstitious, it’s likely that no group of teammates tape their stick in the same way. There are many ways to tape a stick blade and knob. Using tape that resists moisture buildup can help a player have a better feel of the puck on their stick. From colours to patterns, there are a number of options out there for players to see what works best for them. However, there is a basic technique when it comes to taping your stick and it comes down to five easy steps.
Before you begin to tape your stick you must choose a colour you are comfortable with. Traditionally, at the professional level it is either black or white but there also other colours available. You may choose to tape the knob of the stick a different colour than the blade. An advantage of taping the knob of the stick with white tape is that there will be less wear and holes in your gloves because black dye is not transferring into the palms. An advantage of taping the blade of your stick with black tape is that it tends to hide the puck and is more difficult for goaltenders to initially pick up once a shot is released.
Some players and teams use their stick tape to show a cause they are supporting, such as pink for breast cancer awareness.
There are a variety of different ways you can choose to tape the knob of your stick but picking the right one can be a difficult decision. Generally, you only have to tape the knob of your stick once or maybe twice depending on its longevity. The purpose of the knob is to provide a comfortable grip for the top hand on your stick and it has to be thick enough so that it will not fit through a wired cage on a helmet. Another consideration is how far down the shaft you would like the tape to go.
Photo Credit: Kevin Sousa Photography
Before you begin to tape the blade, make sure it is dry so that the tape will stick to it. You also want to make sure that any excess tape from a previous tape job is removed so that when you are finished taping, the blade is smooth all the way around. In addition, check for any cracks or chips on the blade to make sure that you are not playing with a broken blade. Finally, you might want to put a strip of tape along the bottom and around the toe of the blade to help prevent cracks or chips from occurring.
There are some important decisions that you have to make before actually putting the tape on the blade. The first decision involves choosing the pattern to apply to the blade. Will you use the heel to toe or toe to heel pattern? Heel to toe is the most commonly used, especially by professional players. It allows the tape to grip the puck more effectively for better control while stick handling and shooting. Next, you have to decide on the style you are going to use to tape your blade. Some options include: full-blade with toe, full-blade without toe, half-blade (heel to middle), half-blade (middle to toe), and middle. Once those decisions have been made, you can effectively tape your blade.
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After you have applied the tape to the blade, there are a couple of things you can do to complete the job and make it practice or game ready. Right after you apply the tape you can use the remainder of the tape roll or your hand to run along every side of blade. This ensures that the tape is tight against it and the tape is not loose. If there is any excess tape from taping the toe of the blade, you can use scissors to trim it off. You can choose to apply wax to the bottom and sides of the tape as well. This will help keep the snow from building up on the blade and make it slide more easily along the ice. Taping your blade often helps to prevent the blade from wearing down quickly, cracking and chipping. While it only takes few minutes to tape a blade, doing so could improve a player’s puck-handling ability and shot.