Last week I received a happy box in my mail from the folks at BladeTape. In April they’ll be launching their Goalie version of BladeTape, so I was interested to see how good of a replacement it was for my tried-and-true method of drowning each of my new sticks in traditional hockey tape.
The box I received contained two orders of GoalieTape (like BladeTape for goalies — about $20 per package), and two packages of GripTape (about $5). So, I figured what the heck and proceeded to set up two of my sticks to see how it would work for me. This is my review:
For the record, I used the GripTape on the handle (just above the paddle, where my blocker is in the photo) where I normally put a thin layer of hockey tape over a rolled strand of tape for a makeshift grip. I put the second piece of GripTape (there are two per package) on the stick shaft leading up to the knob at the end of my stick (I’ve never traditionally put anything here before).
Alignment on the blade was not easy … it’s a lot smaller than the blade and the shape isn’t quite uniform. I would imagine the guys at BladeTape probably had a hard time making the tape generic enough for all the varying sized of goalie stick. Mine being among the biggest of goalie stick blades, it looks a little small here.
I then proceeded to play 5 games in 6 nights. In general, I can tell you that I could indeed feel the difference. I had much better control over passes and rebounds on my stick and a lot fewer “double-tap” passes (where your stick connects with the puck more than once as it rolls along the blade catching ridges on stick tape) because of the consistent grippy surface that BladeTape provides.
The GripTape also worked well in giving me a lighter-weight and more useful surface to hold on to the stick. In particular, when moving my hands up the top of the shaft I was able to transition a little better to playmaking with my stick during the action. I found the level of sticktion on the “handle” to be great, for sure…
In general I can fairly say that BladeTape improved my game(s) this week. The GripTape / GoalieTape combination was less than half as heavy as the spool of hockey tape it replaced. Of course, it was about 5x as expensive, though.
On balance, though, I can also point to some wear problems that I’m certain are going to affect my relationship with GoalieTape and GripTape in particular.
- The GripTape will “peel up” under frequent friction, like in the handle where I grab the paddle under my blocker — after 4 games it has begin to peel up. Not sure how to deal with this, as the tape itself is both stretching and has lost its stickiness, so it’s losing its desire to cling to my stick.
- BladeTape in general is vulnerable to rips and nicks in ways that aren’t really a big deal with normal hockey stick tape we all use today (as the photos below show).
The wear and nicks that showed up after only one game were a little alarming. If the benefit of BladeTape is a consistent surface to increase your accuracy with the stick, then a bunch of nicks, rips and tears is going to mitigate that pretty substantially. And if you choose to replace your BladeTape after a few games it becomes a costly exercise vs. regular stick tape at $10 per side of your stick.
But here’s the main problematic issue that’s specific to GoalieTape:
Goalies put tape on their stick blades for two reasons: 1) For increased traction when playing the puck, and 2) to reduce stick blade edge wear.
BladeTape of course doesn’t do anything to help us with #2. Using regular hockey tape for that purpose can double or triple the usable life of a stick by preventing the wood from splitting due to fibreglass wear and moisture. Because GoalieTape doesn’t cover the edge, you’re at the mercy of the fibreglass that is holding the stick together.
This of course is not a factor if you’re using a composite / carbon-fibre stick. For the rest of us, I’d like to see a version of bladetape that’s thicker, tougher, and stickier — but which more specifically wraps around the bottom edge of the stick blade — simply dropping a strip of GripTape over the bottom edge won’t solve the problem.
In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying my GoalieTaped sticks until they wear out — likely next month, at the rate I’m playing. For now I’ll probably go back to regular hockey tape on my last two custom wood sticks.