How do the Blackhawks tape their sticks? An SCH investigation

We went straight to the source(s).

(Editor’s note: Just to be clear, as it’s a slight departure from our usual content here, the quotes below are directly from the players.)

It’s probably the only thing that professional hockey players have in common with the skaters taking shifts at Johnny’s Ice House or other favorite rinks of beer leaguers everywhere.

They all have to tape their hockey sticks.

Here’s how the professional athletes on the Chicago Blackhawks do it:

Lukas Reichel

“White tape always,” he said. “I leave a little bit on the top and tape it full.”

Reichel said the white tape was a matter of circumstance, because that’s just what was always around. But he did have a few instances of using black tape while on the IceHogs — once to change his on-ice fortunes.

“I didn’t score for a couple of games and that’s why I changed to black tape,” Reichel said. “And I scored the next game. But, normally, I always do white tape because you just get used to it and you like it.”

Phillipp Kurashev

Reichel’s European counterpart had a similar reasoning for opting to white tape.

“All my life I’ve just played with white tape,” Kurashev said. “Sometimes I’ll switch it up for a practice or maybe the start of a game but, usually, just white.”

Like Reichel, Kurashev tape completely covers the “toe” of his stick with tape, starting there and working down towards the heel based on how he was taught to tape a stick when he first started playing hockey.

“That’s just how my dad taught me when I was younger, so that’s how I do it,” he said.

Mike Hardman

The theme of continuity continued to players with American roots, as Hardman, a Boston-area native, said he’s had the same approach for about a decade now.

“I’ve been doing it this way since high school,” he said. “It’s just something I’ve always done and never really switched.”

One difference between between Hardman’s approach is that he leaves a small part of the stick’s “toe” exposed, continues with tape all the way down to the “heel” and also adds tape slightly up what can be described as the “ankle” area of the stick shaft.

But, again, that’s just a form of habit: “I’ve kind of always done it like that,” Hardman said.

MacKenzie Entwistle

Entwistle might be the most excessive consumer of white hockey tape in the Blackhawks’ locker room, but he maintains there’s a reason for it:

“I just put as much tape on it as I can so that someone can see my blade,” he said with a laugh.

He had a unique approach to how he tapes the other end of his stick, though, to remedy the common hockey gear ailment of rapidly deteriorating palms on hockey gloves from the constant friction between the glove and stick: Entwistle uses a rubber-based tape for that end of the stick.

“It’s almost like a tennis grip,” Entwistle said. “Often times, the tape gets wet and sticky and your glove sticks to it, so this prevents that and stops your glove from ripping.”

Troy Murray

The former Blackhawks forward and current broadcaster listened as Entwistle described his tape preferences and quickly noted the differences between his playing era and the present one.

“We didn’t have any of that stuff back then,” Murray said.

About the only opportunity for customization with hockey tape came in choosing a color: an option that Murray was happy to use.

“I used black tape — I just liked the look of it better,” he said. “I feel like, with the white tape, the shot was better. But, with the black tape, I could stickhandle.”

Jason Dickinson

Dickinson rattled off his stick-taping approach with the rhythmic nature of someone who’s completed that task thousands of times — adding in a unique twist due to one of his job requirements as a center.

“Heel-to-toe, thin white (tape),” he said. “And I double up on the toe because it always gets chewed up on faceoffs.”

But he also had some for a quick endorsement.

“Then I coat it with some wax: always the Howie’s wax,” he said while holding up a tin of it.

When asked about unique tape jobs from other teammates, Dickinson immediately started talking about defenseman Jarred Tinordi.

“He only puts, like, three strips of tape on it. Very minimal tape,” Dickinson said. “It’s not anything crazy, but not what I would’ve expected. Most D-men like extra tape so they can smack a puck out, but he goes the opposite.”

Dickinson then referenced one of his old Dallas Stars’ teammates, who has a notoriously strange approach:

“It’s almost like Jamie Benn ... but he’s a defenseman,” Dickinson said with a smirk spreading across his face, “and he’s not Jamie Benn.”