The Wacky, Weird, Crazy and Unique Tape Jobs in the NHL

Alexandre Texier

Hockey players can impress not only with their goals, assists or hits on the ice, but also with their tape jobs. Some of them are really interesting or even weird. Why are they doing it and how it is contributing to the quality of their performance? 

In the early 1900s, cloth adhesive tape was invented, and this had long lasting impact on hockey. It offered a good hold, 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 and express their individual tape preference along the way.

First tape jobs

Over time, hockey tape jobs in the NHL evolved into an individual style. Some players were able to surprise the others with their tape jobs. There is a lot of creativity, uniqueness or even weirdness. For some hockey players, it is also part of their pre-game ritual, tradition or even superstition.

The Unique Tape Jobs of the NHL

There are several NHL players who have been known for their unique tape jobs, for example David Pastrňák of the Boston Bruins is well-known for his distinctive tape job. He wraps his stick blade with a creative pattern using only a few wraps of hockey tape, making it stand out on the ice.

Another interesting case is Tyler Bertuzzi of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Tyler is obviously no fan of tape. For the knob – he does not even use it. For the blade, he uses Rezztek® - a performance enhancing grip that replaces hockey tape. Check out our more wacky tape jobs in our blog The Unique Tape Jobs of the NHL

Tyler Bertuzzi

How Do the Best Players in the NHL Tape Their Sticks?

As we mentioned at the beginning, some of the NHL tape jobs are really weird. But first, let's look at the best players in the NHL and their tapejobs. You can see how Connor Bedard, the NHL Draft number 1 pick from 2023, is taping his hockey stick in video below.

What about Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs? One of the best forwards in the National Hockey League tapes his hockey stick in an unique way. You can compare him with Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers. Both of them are nearly unstoppable on the ice, is it related to their tape jobs?

The Weirdest Tape Job in the NHL - Patrick Kane

Patrick Kane

The tape job of superstar Patrick Kane is a general sock - type tape job. What makes it weird is his tradition of running a puck over his tape once it is applied in different and weird patterns. There is obviously no performance benefit to this method but hey, once you can dangle like Patrick Kane, you can do whatever you want to your tape.

The Wackiest Tape Job in the NHL - Jakub Lauko

Jakub Lauko

As light as possible, only covering the bottom portion of the blade, where Jakub handles the puck. Jakub uses a Rezztek®, custom designed to only cover about 25% of his stick blade.

The Craziest Tape Job in the NHL - Nikita Gusev

You can only choose one, right? Although there were many candidates for this one, we have selected a very specific tape job for this category. It belongs to Nikita Gusev, a Russia born hockey player that started using this tape job internationally and also brought it to the NHL, when he played for Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. Gusev leaves thin spaces between the individual strips of tape, making his tape job resemble a zebra, or a piano - just see for yourself.

Nikita Gusev

A Shift Away From Tape in the NHL?

If you've been following the NHL in recent years, you may have noticed a growing trend among players: more and more skaters are starting to use blade grips instead of traditional hockey tape.

But why are players ditching this age-old accessory? Basically, the players have better control of the puck, blade grips like Rezztek® give them more durability than traditional hockey tape and it also helps with more shot power and better passing.

We are taking a closer look at some of the reasons behind this shift from tape to alternative hockey stick blade grips in this blog. Here are some pro players getting curious about the shift away from traditional hockey tape.

What Are the Basic Type of tape Jobs We Know?

  • The Classic: Covers only the main part of the blade. Usually leaves the toe of the hockey stick exposed.
  • The Sock: Tapes the heel all the way to the toe of the blade. Many players believe this tapejob helps them protect the blade of the hockey stick. But's let's face it - a thin layer of tape does not protect the blade from damage at all, and usually the tape tears or splits at the heavy used areas and the blade is then not covered at all.
  • The Toe Tape Job: Tapes from the center of the blade and covers the toe. Players usually cut around the toe with scissors, making this tape job a bit more time consuming
  • The 5 Strand: Starts past the center of the blade and makes five wraps toward the toe.
  • The "Orr" and "Pastrnak" and the likes: Basically anything, that a player chooses to use and makes sense to him. The lazy 3-times around that Pastrnak does, or the one strip of tape in the middle of the blade that Bobby Orr used. If you are a famous player, you might get it named after you.
  • The "I don't like tape": Pretty much anything else than tape, or even no tape. Tape alternatives like Rezztek®, BladeTape or Buttendz are growing in popularity and are giving traditional tape a run for its money, as they are many times more durable, perform better and are more convinient to use than tape. 

Jakub Vaverka

Jakub Vaverka

I create content for social media for a living and I live hockey. Going to NHL games and writing blogs about my most favorite game is a dream come true.

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