Hockey players rely on tape for a variety of reasons - from keeping their skates in top condition, to protecting their sticks from wear and tear. Over the years, hockey tape has evolved, going through some changes and improvements. Here we take a closer look at the fascinating evolution of hockey tape.
When hockey was first played, players would use rubber bands to secure their socks around their shin guards and to hold their skates together. As the sport became more popular, players started to wrap their sticks with bands of cloth, mostly to enhance their grip on stick.
The Dawn of Adhesive Tape
In the early 1900s, cloth adhesive tape was invented, and this had a big impact on hockey. It offered a stronger hold than regular cloth tape, making it ideal for securing pads, socks, and skates. But it wasn't until the 1950s that adhesive tape was used to wrap hockey sticks. This allowed for more customization, as players could choose the thickness, texture, and color of tape to suit their playing style.
The End of the Wooden Stick
Wood dominated stick design for 100 years. But in late 1990s, it was getting replaced by lighter materials, like aluminum. In 2001, the first one-piece composite hockey stick was introduced and it quickly became market standard for professional players. One-piece composite stick is still the leading stick design today, with leading stick manufacturers like Bauer, CCM, Warrior, True and Sher-wood compete for the lightest and best performing stick on the market. Hockey tape’s protective function is not as important as before in the era of wooden sticks, since the new composite sticks are more durable than their predecessors.
Currently available materials for the blade of the hockey stick
Hockey tape is still around, and is still the most popular material that players use for their sticks. But new materials are making headway. First, rubberized products for the blade appeared, (BladeTape, Tacki-Mac). They offered better puck control and more durability than tape, but they were also a bit heavier. Same approach but different material is offered by the BladeShark product. Rezztek® offers the best of both worlds – lighter and thinner than hockey tape, with superior puck control and scientifically proven to improve shot speed and accuracy. Rezztek® is widely adopted throughout the NHL and most elite hockey leagues around the world, aiming to become the go-to standard for all players looking for maximum performance.
The Future of Hockey Tape
As technology advances, the world of hockey tape and alternative products continue to evolve. Will we see more advanced adhesives, new materials, or even smart tape that responds to a player's movements or tracks it? Only time will tell. But one thing's for sure – tape or its alternatives will continue to be a vital part of the sport for years to come.