Having correctly-sharpened blades on your ice hockey skates is just as important as finding your perfect fit. There are a bunch of different depths you can get your hockey skates sharpened to, so we’ve put together this guide to help you understand hockey skate sharpening and why you need it!
Why Do Ice Hockey Skates Need To Be Sharpened?
Sharp blades on your hockey skates mean you can grip the ice, helping you push off for maximum power in your stride while making those tight manoeuvres when you’re fighting for the puck.
Having a better grip on the ice also stops you from sliding out, which can cause injury and keep you on the bench for the rest of the season.
How Frequently Should Ice Hockey Skates Be Sharpened?
Most ice hockey players get between 10-20 hours of ice time from each grind. Depending on your body weight, skill level and how sharp you like your blades, you may get more or less than this.
The best way to test if your ice hockey skates are due for sharpening is to gently rub the top of your thumbnail down the edge of the blade. If your blade is sharp enough, it should scratch the surface of your nail, but if the blade is dull, it won’t leave a mark.
You’ll also be able to tell when your blades are getting a little dull by how they perform out on the ice. If you notice that your skates are slipping out from under you, it could be a sign that it’s time to get your blades sharpened.
How Are Ice Hockey Skates Sharpened?
If you look at your ice hockey skates, you’ll see a concave hollow running along the length of the blade. This is the radius of hollow, which can be made deeper or shallower, depending on a player’s preference.
Sharpening your blades means sharpening these two edges on either side of the hollow by running your blades along a rotating grinding wheel.
Depending on your playstyle and preference, you can have your blades sharpened with a shallower or deeper hollow. Generally speaking, shallower grinds are good for speed, easy stopping, and smoother turns, so they are particularly suited to forwards. Defencemen need more grip for technical turns and faster manoeuvres, so they tend to prefer a deeper hollow.
What Hollow Should I Get For My Ice Hockey Skates?
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to the right hollow for your ice hockey blades, as it mostly comes down to personal preference.
If you’re new to playing ice hockey, a standard ½ inch grind will give you a good balance between gripping the ice and the ability to pick up some speed.
Lightweight or youth hockey players may prefer a shallower hollow of ⅝, delivering more speed while keeping you stable — most NHL players have this hollow on their skates.
If you’re a heavier player that values a controlled edge for stopping quickly, a deep grind of ⅜ is an excellent option.
Some ice hockey players are turning to a new sharpening style called the Flat Bottom V (FBV). This unique grind cuts a ‘V’ into your blade instead of a concave hollow, and gives players the best of both worlds — bite in the turns, and glides in the stride.
Our expert team can work with you to decide on the best hollow for your ability, body weight and playstyle.
Are New Ice Hockey Skates Pre-Sharpened?
Most ice hockey skates usually do not come from the manufacturer pre-sharpened. It’s super important to get that first sharpening nailed so that you can get the best out of your new skates!
All skates purchased from us in-store come with one free grind, and we’re more than happy to advise on hollows and profiles to help you elevate your performance.
Where Can I Get My Hockey Skates Sharpened?
Our skilled team of Blademaster-trained staff at Willies sharpen your blades to your exact specifications and are on hand to advise if a change in hollow could improve your performance. You can find us at 52a Earlsdon Street, Coventry, CV5 6EJ.Now you’ve learned how important it is to keep your skates sharp, book your slot for ice hockey skate sharpening while you wait, from £7.50. If you can’t get to us, you can get your hands on custom-sharpened hockey blades with our handy mail-in service, no matter where you are!