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The Wrap on Hockey Tape

Senior+Jonathon+Nathan+tapes+his+hockey+stick.+%E2%80%9CNo+two+people+do+it+the+same+so+I+don%E2%80%99t+trust+others+to+tape+mine%2C%E2%80%99+Nathan+said.+Photo+by+Avery+Cooper.
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The Wrap on Hockey Tape

Senior Jonathon Nathan tapes his hockey stick. “No two people do it the same so I don’t trust others to tape mine,’ Nathan said. Photo by Avery Cooper.

Senior Jonathon Nathan tapes his hockey stick. “No two people do it the same so I don’t trust others to tape mine,’ Nathan said. Photo by Avery Cooper.

Senior Jonathon Nathan tapes his hockey stick. “No two people do it the same so I don’t trust others to tape mine,’ Nathan said. Photo by Avery Cooper.

Senior Jonathon Nathan tapes his hockey stick. “No two people do it the same so I don’t trust others to tape mine,’ Nathan said. Photo by Avery Cooper.

Avery Cooper, Staff Writer

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Before every game, hockey players do something that may not seem too important to the average watcher of the sport, but for the players, it’s one of the most crucial pregame rituals: taping their hockey stick. Usually about $3 a roll, some players can go through a roll a week. Whether the player does it before every game or does a re-tape every few times they step on the rink, every player knows a good tape is key to keeping control of the puck.

Art teacher David Jafari has been playing hockey since he was 10 years old and continues to play in Friday night men’s leagues. After many years, Jafari still uses the same technique.

“I like my tape to be clean, free of creases, but not wrapped all the way to the toe of the stick. I don’t use wax, but only like black tape,” Jafari said. Most players carefully wrap their stick, but the way it’s taped, the color, and use of wax varies.

For color, most players choose white or black depending on what their position is and what they want to hide.

“A lot of people use black because they feel it hides the puck’s release off the blade from the goalie’s eyes because it will blend in. On the other hand, a lot of people will use white tape to blend in with the ice so it’s more difficult for defenders to keep track of their blade, making them harder to guard,” senior Jonathon Nathan said. However, players who use colorful tape are quickly judged by other teams. Senior Sam Benoist has used colored tape in support of certain organizations, but otherwise thinks colored tape without purpose can reflect your ability and the other team will make their own judgments.

“If you see somebody with green tape or pink tape you know they’re not good at hockey. Unless it’s Breast Cancer awareness month or another reason to support a group, that’s the only exception. But anything else, you know they’re bad.” Benoist said.

While hockey tape may look similar on every stick, they are actually all different in their own ways. Freshman Jeremy Emch and many other players have tried different ways to tape their sticks, but end up usually sticking to their go-to wrap.

“Most players, including me, have many superstitions with wrapping their sticks and feel as if they wrap their sticks the wrong way they’ll mess up in the game,” Emch said. Same with the choice of colors; players can be seen as bad if they tape their stick messily or in an odd way.

“The worst people known as the ‘dusters’ are more willing to tape their stick in a ‘garbage’ way and just over-use tape and make it uneven, “ Nathan said. That’s why for players it can take between five to 15 minutes to tape their sticks, depending on how skillful you are with taping and the way they tape it.

Whether you’re a new player or have played for decades, a good tape job is necessary in order to play hockey. Junior James Sherstoff has tried playing without a wrap, and it was not successful.

“I’ve tried it a few times before and I never played well. It helps the player stick to the handle and hold onto the puck,” Sherstoff said. If you’re wanting to join a hockey team, make sure you learn to tape your stick clean and neat, choose a black or white tape, and you’ll be ready to hit the rink.

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The Wrap on Hockey Tape