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So, you’re considering using stick wax on your hockey stick. Maybe you’ve seen someone else using it in the dressing room? Or you’re curious about the wax you’ve seen for sale at the sporting goods store? What advantages does it provide? Does it really add benefits to your stickhandling or shooting abilities? We’ve got you covered here with everything you need to know about stick wax.
Stick wax is an accessory that some players use to enhance their control of the puck. The wax is applied in a thin layer to the tape on your stick blade. The wax will provide a tackier grip for your tape when you have the puck on your stick. Wax also resists moisture from the ice that can reduce the effectiveness of hockey tape and potentially damage your stick blade.
What is Stick Wax?
Hockey stick waxes are usually made of a combination of moldable wax substances. And yes, they are similar to the wax used in candles!
The waxes come in a variety of colours and are usually scented. Several different brands sell wax, so they are sometimes labelled “hockey wax,” “sex wax,” or “stick wax.”
As you use the wax, it will begin to shrink in size. The wax that is applied to the stick removes it bit-by-bit from its original form, which is usually in a disc shape.
Before the use of wax was popularized, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky was known for using baby powder on his stick.
How to Wax Your Stick
You will want to wax your stick after you’ve taped it.
Apply the wax to the tape on your stick blade. You can use the edge of the wax disc, or one of its faces.
You’ll especially want to use the wax on the lower half of your stick blade – where you handle the puck on your stick. Apply the wax to your liking to this lower portion, including the bottom of the stick blade and its edges.
You can also apply the wax to the tape on your entire stick blade if you choose to. There is little disadvantage to using the wax, so waxing it this way can help keep water and snow off the whole blade.
Use the wax generously but try not to apply so much that it becomes bumpy on the tape. You want to maintain the flat natural style of the tape on the blade, otherwise the puck can feel slippery on the tape.
If you tape your stick over the toe of the blade, giving it a “sock” appearance, use the wax on the edge of the toe as well. This will strengthen the tape job where you’ve used scissors to cut the tape.
Does Wax Actually Work?
Players do attest to the advantages of waxing their sticks. Wax is good enough for Tampa Bay Lightning superstar Nikita Kucherov, for example.
The wax is effective at resisting moisture and snow buildup. Not only that, but a thin layer of wax is similar to the feel of regular hockey tape on the puck.
In fact, many players feel that wax provides extra grip and precision with the puck.
The wax is slightly tackier than tape, which can help with puck control.
Wax also helps flatten the tape job and makes the tape last longer.
Waxing your stick may be a matter of personal preference. But using wax does offer advantages. It resists moisture and snow by covering your tape with a thin layer of the wax. Players also enjoy the slight tacky feel of the wax on the puck, which increases grip. Give the wax a try and see if you like it, because it can provide several benefits for a purchase of just a few dollars.
That said some people may not like to use wax because it:
- Can change the feel of the grip
- Give your stick blade slight bumps
- Mark and change the colour of your blade
Using stick wax may give you a slight advantage or it may not suit your feel of the puck -- either way using it or not using it won’t be the biggest decision you make this season!