I have a background playing baseball, and pine tar is used all the time along with variations of tape to get a grip on the bat. I was at a Colorado Avalanche game and wondered if the players use pine tar or another tacky substance for a better grip.

I know that the bottom hand on the stick moves pretty freely, so I wouldn't expect a player to use it on that hand. The top hand is pretty stationary to my knowledge, and they use tape on the top of the stick. Do players put anything on the tape for more grip like a baseball player might?


I don't have a definitive link, but the answer to the basic question is- sort of. They don't use pine tar, as that would leave a residue on the gloves; but they do occasionally use other substances that are more subtle.

According to a user on the ModSquadHockey forums, one common practice is to rub the tape against some more tape - the sticky side, that is. That would apply a little bit of the sticky substance from the tape (and probably also make the tape on the stick a bit rougher). I've not seen anything saying NHL players do this other than forum posts, but it seems a fairly common recommendation (to make a ball of tape or reverse-tape a stick, then rub against your stick).

You also commonly see candycane patterns - that is, areas of tape and no tape diagonally wrapped; this gives more grip than tape all the way because it gives you more contours to get grip on. Lots of Youtube videos showing you how to do that out there.

Finally, they make composite shafts that have a rubber-like grip built in; I'm not sure if NHL players use those or not, but they're fairly easy to find; this discount hockey store has some examples.

  • 1
    NHL players definitely use the sticks with built-in tack. They're not illegal and players use whatever they find gives them an advantage within the rules. Considering players often get new sticks every game (using the older ones for practice and giving them away/selling them as memorabilia) the relatively short time the stick remains tacky is immaterial.
    – KeithS
    Mar 13 '15 at 0:20
  • 1
    Having not purchased sticks regularly for a decade or so, I was surprised at how 'grippy' (and expensive!) most sticks are today. That's a definite change from back in the day. @KeithS I don't think it's a tacky surface but rather a rubbery surface. So grippy, but not necessarily sticky.
    – DA.
    Mar 20 '15 at 17:02

As a hockey player, I (more often than not) would apply wax (Commonly found as SexWax) on my stick. It's a perfectly legitimate resource to use, and adds a little more grip when stick handling. As for pine tar, I'm not certain, although, with how well it works for baseball grips, it may be worth a shot to apply a bit on the heel of your stick and see if it helps. It may be negated when it comes in contact with water (rubbing on the ice).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.