Skates, Skate Rentals and Skate Sharpening in Edmonton

Skate blade sharpening, including hockey and figure skates

Regular sharpening is important to maintain the blades of the skate as well. It removes any light rust that forms on the runner's bottoms and sides. It also helps to maintain the edges keeping nicks from becoming impossibly deep. Most importantly it restores the edges that allow skaters to propel themselves on the ice.

Ice Hockey Skates 

Equipment is essential to the game of ice hockey and one of the most frequently overlooked components is that of the skate blade. At every level of the game it is imperative for players to appreciate the importance of having their blades sharpened correctly. As players gain experience and mature physically they usually specialize into a preferred position on the ice, if its defense, offense or taking face offs. Some positions require or benefit from specific sharpening stratagies. 


Figure Skates

Even though a figure skate blade looks like there is one edge, there are actually two, an inner edge (toward your inner thigh) and the outer edge (outer thigh).  Depending on what a skater is wanting to do they will use the inside or outside edge to accomplish their task. Apart from the blade there are several types of toe picks aswell some are straight cut, some are cross cut and then there's the K-pick. The beginner ice skating blades will have smaller toe picks and the more advanced figure skating blades will have bigger toe picks.

Let us understand the four critical elements of the blade in skate sharpening:

Contour/radius of the blade – This is the curve of the blade and it determines how much of the blade makes contact with the ice. More blade on the ice creates less maneuverability for quick turns; however players can generate more speed while having more blade on the ice.

Apex– The Apex is the center of the contour of the blade and it if is too far forward or to far back it will also effect the balance of the skater.

Hollow/Radius of the Hollow– This is the groove between the blades edges. This concave track has two outside edges and the space between the edges is called the hollow. A properly sharpened skate has two equal and even edges. The depth of the hollow will determine the amount of bite the blade will have with the contact of the ice.

Levelness– Both edges should line up perfectly even or square so that the player can have equally sharp edges with a flat hollow.

Even and uneven hollow

There definitely is a science and a skill to sharpening the skates, however by understanding the critical elements of the blade and realizing the importance of proper sharpening will provide the hockey player with an enormous advantage. I would like to address the problems that people most frequently see. The most common problem that people see in respect to the skate blade is that after sharpening 70-80% of skate blades are uneven. The unevenness in the blade forces the body to compensate in other areas and can ultimately compromise the health of the player. It definitely impacts the balance of the skater and the player’s ability to hold their edges.

Secondly, players frequently see the hollow of the skate is often too deep, thus creating more friction on the ice and impedes the younger player from learning some of the basic fundamentals such as how to stop because of their inability to slide on the ice. As players develop further and their skill levels rise it still is critical that the hollow not be too deep because it will deter the player from gliding on the ice as they will have too much friction. This friction will create fatigue, forcing the player to work harder to create speed and power against the ice.

The whole idea is to get as much ice as possible contact the center part of the blade while still maintaining a good edge. The deeper the hollow, the more friction it will take to get the ice into that part of the blade – less hollow allows the player to be able to glide on the ice more efficiently. This allows the player to go longer, harder and faster. Hollows may vary depending on a player’s role, position, size, style and skating skills. There are a range of hollows that are valuable for various types of players that enhance their performance and effectiveness.

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