As you could imagine, skates are one of the most important pieces of equipment for hockey players. And one of the most underrated parts of being successful on the ice is having sharp skates.
Sharp skates help you get a better grip on the ice, skate with less effort, and generally be a more efficient player on the ice. They also help you better keep your balance when fighting off checks or making quick and agile turns.
Players should sharpen their skates regularly to ensure they are playing their best on the ice. But how exactly do these skates get sharpened, and how are you supposed to choose how much to sharpen them?
Well, that is exactly what this guide is going to examine. Read on to learn more about how to sharpen hockey skates, choosing the right way to sharpen them, and so much more.
The Process of Sharpening Skates
I will begin by taking a closer look at the process of sharpening skates. Many people think that sharpening skates is simply about making the blade as flat and sharp as possible. But that is not the case.
If you look closely at a skate blade, you will see that each blade has two edges, with a hollow part in the middle. The goal of sharpening is to get the edges sharp, but also to ensure this hollowed-out area is the right size and depth.
When skates are sharpened, the process begins by clamping your skates to ensure they are held tightly. Once the skates are secure, it is passed along a grinding wheel (or a finishing wheel), a few times.
This wheel grinds and shapes the hollow, while also sharpening the edges, leaving you with a sharp blade incredibly easily and quickly.
How to Choose the Right Hollow
Now that you know the process of sharpening skates and how it gets done, how can you choose the right hollow for your skates? Well, there is no right or wrong answer here, as it depends on your preferences and how you like to play.
In general, a hollow that is very deep will allow for more quicker and responsive turns and motions but will sacrifice top speed and it will take more effort to skate.
But a skate blade that has a flatter hollow will have a higher top speed and be more efficient, but things like quick turns and accelerating will be slower and more challenging. Of course, some hollows can be a good mix of the two, as well.
If you’re not sure which you prefer, consider trying a couple out and see what allows you to play your best and feel you’re most comfortable.
If you want to learn more, check out this skate sharpening guide for a more in-depth look at some of the different options.
How Often Should Skates Be Sharpened?
But just how often should you be sharpening your skates for optimal results? Well, the answer is that it depends. How often you skate and use your skates will often dictate how much they need to be sharpened.
Someone who only skates once every two weeks will need to sharpen far less than someone who is skating three times a week. In many cases, players will sharpen their skates once for every 10 hours of ice time, though some will do it more frequently if they like.
Where you are skating and playing can also have an impact, too. Colder ice (such as on an outdoor rink) will generally dull your skates more quickly than the ice inside of an indoor rink or heated arena.
Over time, you will simply be able to tell when it is time for a sharpening based on how your skates feel. If you have the proper equipment you can sharpen them yourself, but getting them done at a sporting goods store or hockey-specific store can be very affordable and easy, too.
Sharpening Problems You Need to Watch For
While sharpening skates is generally quite simple and often straightforward, there are also some potential issues that may arise. I felt it was a good idea to go over a few of those potential problems, to ensure you can avoid them or watch out for them.
First of all, you want to make sure that the sharpener is properly aligned with your blade. If not, you could end up with one side being taller than the other, which can be quite uncomfortable and difficult when playing.
Another thing to watch out for is sharpening the skates too fast. When passing them over the wheel, it should be done in a smooth, slow, and controlled fashion. If it is done too fast, it has the potential to create rough areas on the blade.
Sharpening your skates is an important part of playing your best on the ice. I hope this guide helped you learn more about the process, and how to properly sharpen your skates. Be sure to leave me a comment if you feel I left something out of this guide that could have been included.About Kale