Bobby Orr reveals why he played with only one strand of tape on his stick blade, and it’s definitely not the reason we thought

If you saw some kids playing hockey in the ’60s or ’70s, the odds are that some used one strand of tape on their stick blades. Some might have been barefoot in their skates. Why was that? All because of the one and only Bobby Orr.

Orr was a great prospect who exceeded everyone’s expectations in the NHL. He played in the National Hockey League for 12 seasons, the first 10 with the Boston Bruins, and changed how defensemen play the game.

Orr started skating at age eight, starting as a forward. But he was later moved to defense and encouraged to use his skating skills to control play.

And that’s just what he did.

At 12, NHL scouts had noticed him; at 14, he joined the Bruins’ junior hockey affiliate, the Oshawa Generals. Bruins hadn’t won a Cup since 1941 when Orr joined the team in 1966.

UNDATED: Bobby Orr #4 of the Boston Bruins smiles at the camera from the players’ bench circa the 1970’s during a game. (Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images)

But it didn’t take long for Orr to become the biggest star in Boston and the whole NHL. He went on to win two Cups with Boston and eight consecutive Norris Trophies as the NHL’s best defenseman.

But there was another thing besides his skills that stood out with Orr. He used to play with just one strand of tape on his stick, so around the world, you could see kids having stick blades just like Orr, trying to be like their idols.

(Original Caption) Boston Bruins’ Bobby Orr is shown in action against the St. Louis Blues in Stanley Cup playoff game in St. Louis. Source: Getty Images

But why did Orr start with the one-strand tape on his blade?

In his book, ’Orr: My Story,’ he explains that he thought it was an NHL rule to at last have some tape on the blade.

“In my case, I liked the feel of the puck on the blade without any tape at all,” Orr writes. “So the idea came to me that if I had to have tape on my stick, I would use as little as possible. Over the years, I used less and less until I was down to a single stripe. And eventually I ended up with no tape at all.”

Source: Getty Images

When Orr was playing in juniors, he didn’t even know what lie his stick had. And he just loved the feel of those wooden sticks.

”There’s something about the feel of a wooden stick in your hands that can never be totally duplicated in carbon fiber.”

But how about not wearing socks in his skates? Orr did that as well throughout his career. It all started with him forgetting socks one time while playing in juniors. He liked the way it felt and just kept playing that way. We guess his teammates didn’t really like that, though. 

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