When I was a part-time sales associate at Sportchek, a mother once commented to me that once her sons had balled up all of the sock tape they used in a month and each created a tape ball the size of a basketball. Her boys played rep hockey; therefore, they were on the ice quite a few times a week. After their little experiment the boys substituted sock tape for velcro shin pad straps to hold their shin guards in place. Her story made me get rid of my sock tape years ago. After all it’s a win-win: I save money, and the environment doesn’t have to pay (as badly) for my recreational hockey. After my last game, a teammate sat in the locker room holding a wad of sock tape and asked aloud “I wonder how much sock tape we go through?” Her recognition of the problem has inspired me to try and see if I can actually start a movement: SAY NO TO SOCK TAPE. And, lucky for me, I happen to have this lovely little platform to start such a movement. Sock tape is one of the few pieces of equipment that has a sustainable and CHEAP alternative. So I am issuing a challenge to my own team, the writers on this blog, your team, and everyone who plays hockey to stop using sock tape. The ultimate goal would be to get the NHL to support this movement (so if you are an NHL player and reading this, your help would be greatly appreciated!) but let’s see how far we can spread this at a grassroots level.
As athletes, we rarely put sustainability over performance. This is a rather arrogant stance, is it not? To say that it is okay to create infinite amounts of garbage because our fun (or hockey careers) is more important than the sustainability of the earth. Is individual performance more valuable than the well being of everyone? We are asked to make small changes in our everyday life by turning the lights out, recycling, and carpooling, but I think our sporting endeavours often get a pass because it’s just the way it is and always has been. Hockey tape is just part of the locker room ritual. Re-taping the stick after each game is part of the ritual. It adds up folks and it is time that environmental sustainability becomes part of the ritual. The NHL launched a sustainability report this past July as part of its social responsibility programming. It is, apparently, the first time that a national sports league in North America has created such a report. It starts off by stating, “Perhaps more than any other sport, hockey is impacted by environmental issues, particularly climate change and freshwater scarcity.” I don’t see anything about sock tape in there but there is certainly an emphasis on reduce, reuse, and recycle for NHL fans, whereas the league itself claims to focus on energy conservation, water waste, and its carbon footprint. If the NHL is committed, at least on paper, to reducing waste then we should also do our part.
For those of you who don’t know what the alternative looks like, I have scouted out different kinds and sources for you below:
From icewarehouse.com these straps sell for $6.99:
Also from icewarehouse.com, if you are Reebok loyal, these sell for $5.99:
Also available from thehockeyshop, for $8.99 (Top Jock Senior Shin Pad Straps)
Hockeymonkey.com is currently sold out of their Reebok Sr. shin pad straps. Maybe this is a good sign? Because so many people are buying them?
Anyways, you get the point – they exist, and they are inexpensive. I have created a Facebook page to help try and spread the word. So if you are committed to reducing your hockey footprint ‘like’ the page and tell us your team name, position and that you SAY NO TO SOCK TAPE! Try and get your team and league involved. And, if there are any graphic designers out there who would like to design a more snazzy SAY NO TO SOCK TAPE logo for me, that would be amazing!!! :)
*Cross posted on The Rabbit Hole.