How To Tape A Hockey Stick
Many players prepare their hockey stick for action by wrapping tape in certain patterns around particular sections. Wrapping your blade, butt end, or shaft with hockey tape protects your equipment and adds grip, giving you advantages on the ice.
Why Do You Tape Hockey Sticks?
Taping protects the blade from wear and tear, provides a better grip on the stick shaft, and allows you to customize the knob size to fit your hand. Wrapping hockey tape on the blade also prevents moisture and ice buildup, so the puck tracks with your blade instead of slipping out of control. Players enhance the butt end with tape, building a knob that conforms to their specific grip.
- What is hockey tape? It’s a specialized sports equipment tape with long-lasting adhesive properties made in a poly/cotton cloth blend that comes in a variety of colors. Some players choose black to hide the puck from the goalie. White is another popular choice.
- The best way to tape a hockey stick is to find the pattern that works for your style of play and then wrap the stick in smooth, seamless lines using that pattern. Make sure the tape is finished cleanly and rubbed down with a puck or stick wax. We discuss all of this in more detail below.
How to Wrap a Hockey Stick
You have the options to wrap the blade, shaft, and knob of your hockey stick. Players wrap sections of their sticks based on personal preferences and how taping benefits their game.
Taping the Stick Blade
Many players start by covering the edge of the toe with a single strip of hockey tape. Place the strip so the tape runs around the toe and along the bottom, so the entire toe edge is covered. Flatten this strip so there are no wrinkles, and then begin to tape your blade.
Start the tape wraps from either the toe or the heel of the stick—it's personal preference, but whether you work from toe to heel or heel to toe, you must overlap your tape smoothly and space the wraps evenly.
For example: In a toe-to-heel wrap, start at the toe, winding the tape carefully and consistently around the blade, making sure the tape doesn't bunch up or wrinkle. You want smooth, symmetrical wraps over the blade so the tape job helps your shooting and passing instead of leaving you with an unpredictable blade surface.
If creases or wrinkles develop as you wrap the tape around the blade, simply trim off this extra with sharp scissors. Trim any flaps hanging off the toe with scissors as well.
Finishing the Tape on the Blade
After the blade is taped, we recommend applying wax so the puck bites on the blade as you play. Use hockey stick wax for this step. Lots of players also rub a hockey puck back and forth along the blade, which keeps water and ice from sticking to the tape; the black scuff marks may also help hide the puck from the goalie, if you're using white tape. If you want to hide the puck, you can always use black tape on the blade.
Taping the Butt End of a Hockey Stick
It's handy to have a perfectly sized knob on top of your stick, which you can achieve using hockey tape. Create a base by adding some paper or a strip of napkin on the top of the stick. Tear the tape in half lengthwise on the roll, guesstimating how much you need. Use a half-strip of tape to cover the butt, making the knob with these thinner wraps of tape. Make the knob as big or as small as you prefer. When the knob reaches the size you want, press down to compress it with your hand, and then smooth the knob. To add grip to the handle under the knob, wind the full width of the tape down the shaft about 10 or 12 inches, overlapping evenly and consistently. Taping here gives you a good grip on the stick.
Taping a Rib on the Stick Shaft for DIY Grip
Some players create a ribbed section on their hockey stick shaft using tape. It's a cool idea for adding a custom grip. Start by making your knob at the top, and then tear off about a foot or more of tape and twist it into a skinny rope. Spiral-wind the sticky rope around the shaft, so the rib runs down about eight inches or a foot or so from the top knob. Now cover the spiral wind with tape, and there you have it: a basic do-it-yourself grip with a rib. We often finish off these tape wraps with clear hockey tape, which alleviates friction on the palms of your hockey gloves and saves them from wearing out.
Hockey Stick Taping Patterns and Methods
The best way to tape a hockey stick is by using whichever patterns and methods enhance your skills on the ice. If you’re just learning to tape your stick, you may experience a few rounds of trial and error before you figure it out. Here are the most common tape patterns and methods.
- The Classic: Your standard blade tape job. The wrap goes heel-to-toe but leaves a bit of the heel and toe exposed so the tape covers only the main part of the blade.
- The Sock: Another tried-and-true classic. Also a heel-to-toe pattern, The Sock covers the heel all the way to the toe completely so it looks like your blade is wearing a gym sock.
- Toe Tape Job: A great method for players who like only partial blade coverage. This pattern starts at the center of the blade and wraps forward, covering the toe.
- The 5 Strand: A quick, mid-blade tape job. Start just past the center of the blade, make five wraps towards the toe, and then finish it off.
- Shaft Pattern – The Candy Cane: This shaft pattern starts under the handle grip tape job and spirals down the shaft as far as you want with about 1 ½” to 2” between each strip of tape.
How to Tape a Goalie Stick
Like the other players, goalies also tape their sticks for better play. The common areas for taping on a goalie stick are the knob, paddle grip, and blade. Taping a large knob helps goalies keep their stick in-hand, especially while poke checking. For goalies, the recommended tape pattern is toe-to-heel so that the puck rolls off the blade, especially during passing and shooting. While goalies don’t need to tape the paddle grip, many choose to add it to help control rebounds.
How to Tape a Street Hockey Stick
Since the road quickly eats up tape on a blade, you may want to tape only the butt end of your stick to customize the grip.
How to Tape a Bauer Sling Hockey Stick
Bauer introduced a cutout blade in the revolutionary Sling hockey stick, leaving players wondering how to tape it. But the new design doesn’t affect your preferred taping patterns and methods. No tape job is going to hinder the Bauer Sling, so tape it the same way you would a conventional stick.
How to Wax a Hockey Stick
Like peanut butter and jelly, your blade tape job and hockey wax are meant to go together—so much so that popular hockey accessory makers often sell the two as a combo pack. Warning: Use only hockey wax on your hockey stick, and not just any off-the-shelf commercial wax that can gum up your stick and wreck your game.
- What wax does for hockey sticks: Hockey wax coats the tape in a tacky, protective surface. Not only does wax give you better puck control, but it also shields your tape job from moisture and ice buildup as well as prolongs the life of your blade.
- How to wax a hockey stick: Take your stick wax and make 4–6 horizontal passes along the face of the blade. Repeat this process a few times on the back of the blade as well.
- Baby powder on a hockey stick? Wayne Gretzky famously topped off his stick tape-and-wax jobs with a dusting of baby powder to take the edge off the stickiness just enough so he could be one with the puck. While some players understandably want to follow in the skate blades of The Great One, deploying a dash of it to your stick should be reserved for players who know exactly how much to use to create the stick feel they need. Baby powder isn’t a wax replacement.
When to Re-tape a Hockey Stick
If any part of your stick—knob, shaft, or blade—shows through, you’ll want to replace the tape. Some players and goalies remove the tape and retape the stick before each game, but ultimately that’s personal preference. Remember to clean your blade of any sticky residue before retaping. Warm water and mild dish soap remove leftover adhesive as does rubbing your blade on the rubber floors in the locker room. You can also heat the residue with a hairdryer, and then wipe it off.
Are you in the market for hockey tape or wax? Pure Hockey carries a wide selection of both for players of every age and at every level of play. And our Low-Price Guarantee promises the most competitive prices available. If you're a parent or first-time buyer and have more questions about taping your hockey stick, contact our experts at Pure Hockey—they're ready to help!