I live a very stressful life. Most of my weeks are spent living paycheck to paycheck and as many beers as one can afford. What makes this life worth living are the simple things, like an ice cold beer after a long day, hanging out with friends, seeing your significant other, and a bit more on the weird side, taping my hockey stick.
I effing love taping my stick. I love everything about it. It is one of those few moments in my life where I am truly happy, serene and care-free, and I am not sure why. When I’m really into it, it must be something similar to what some get from meditation – no other thoughts enter my mind, just complete focus.
I love taking out a brand new roll of tape out of the packaging and applying that first piece. Weirdly, I always end up throwing about a foot, or about the first two loops, of tape away. I’m not sure why, perhaps I’m not mentally balanced or focused enough yet.
The careful lines form from folds of tape across the blade and the noise it makes coming off the roll as soothing as the ocean waves breaking at windy night. There is always a smirk on my face after a great tape job and expectations of good hockey with a few goals coming off this blade.
The routine? I spend about 20 minutes taping my stick. It is a ritual that has become almost scientific – in my eyes at least.
I start with two layers of tape that goes flat against the bottom of the blade to protect it from impact of the ice. This has proven to spare me some blades being damaged at the heel. Whether it works or not, it makes sense to me anyway.
I then use a screwdriver to smooth out the tape on the bottom of the blade to get it as close to the blade as possible. I also lay down about three or four long pieces of tape along the shaft near the bottom of the stick or the “sir slash-me-a-lot” area, as I like to call it.
The last crazy, over-protective thing that I do is take an inch long tape piece and roll into a straw, sticky side out. I lay this piece on the end of my blade and try to get it so the part that hits the corners the most has a slight cushion. I found this to be very helpful in preserving my more expensive sticks from having the toe of the blade chip away like a stale cookie over time. I tape my stick from toe to the heel with the toe area having the tape only overlap in small ridges while the heel area overlaps completely.
I also use hockey wax and highly recommend it to anyone skating on local ice rinks. The wax is grippy and prevents snow from sticking to your stick. Very useful on most local ice sheets that start to look like ski slopes by the end of the day .
I tape my stick about twice a month and each single time I feel really happy. It is my Zen-like moment where I pretend that I will have an awesome game with this tape job and the way the tape forms ridges at the toe will help me get more zing on the puck.
I sometimes ask myself if I would spend this much time on taping my stick if I was a pro. Probably not. I pay for my sticks and I like to protect them as much as I can. It is also very hard for me to jump from stick to stick very easily as I always find myself hating most of them at first. I think this is why I spend so much time taping the stick and care about this process.
It is a weird thing to write about, but I thought that maybe someone else relates and loves taking their time taping their stick. Or maybe I just miss hockey too much.
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