How to Sharpen Hockey Skates
Since hockey skates are an extension of a player's body, they are the most important part of a hockey player's equipment. Dull or incorrectly-sharpened hockey skate blades can slow you down and hold you back from accelerating, stopping, and turning quickly and accurately. Learning how to sharpen hockey skates will help you to effectively transfer power from your legs to the blades on the ice.
When blades have nicks and dents, they will affect your performance, causing you to lose speed or, sometimes, to fall. With more experience, you will begin to understand how often a hockey skate blade should be sharpened. Generally, a professional will prefer to sharpen skate blades every two hours, or after every game when playing indoors. When skating outside, blades can become dull even faster. It is important to remember that excessive sharpening can wear down a blade quickly, so the recreational player may not find it effective to sharpen blades that often, unless they are nicked and dented.
A non-professional player will want to have a hockey shop sharpen them, because the shop employees will know better how to sharpen hockey skates. A hand-honing stone makes an excellent choice for a temporary sharpening of your blades. Simply slide the stone over the sides of the blades to hone them. Although this does not replace a blade sharpening, it works as a quick fix.
An actual blade sharpening tool features a rotating circular stone wheel that has been shaped with a diamond tip. The hockey skate blade is passed over the wheel a number of times, causing the blade to become smoother. Finally the blade is passed over the wheel with an oil finish, and a couple passes of a hand stone completes the sharpening for a smooth, sharp blade. Some shops do not offer this final step without your request, so be sure to ask.
Skate blades consist of two ridges and are correctly sharpened when these ridges are level. Check to ensure that your blades are level by balancing a coin on them and inspecting the edges against the coin. You will want the coin to be perfectly level and not tipping to either side. If the coin tips, ask the shop to re-sharpen them.
Understanding how to sharpen hockey skates helps a player to better understand how his or her skates work during a game. This knowledge helps improve skills to become a better hockey player.