Have you just bought a new pair of ice hockey skates, or are you planning to? You might be curious about whether they come sharpened from the factory or not, and it is rightful to be so.
Hockey skates can be an expensive investment and no one wants to go on the ice with an unsharpened skate. This article delves into the importance of sharp skates and discusses the prominent question of whether they come pre-sharpened or not and other facts related to sharpening your skates.
New Skates Out of the Box
As much as we’d like to save ourselves from spending more money and the hassle of sharpening new skates, unfortunately, a vast majority of skates do not come sharpened. Only on a few rare occasions like professional and custom-made skates, do they come sharpened.
Typically, new skates come with a blade holder and a blade attached to it. These blades are rounded, dull, and flattened, and hence require sharpening before starting to skate with them.
Some skate blades additionally require a hollow groove to be cut into them, before the usual sharpening, while other blades might have a thin plastic coating which necessitates them to be ground off during the sharpening.
Going to a trained skate sharpener is the most sound choice for newly bought skates. They have the proper tools and expertise required to give your skates the edge they deserve. Some hockey shops offer a sharpening service at the time of purchase but be warned, as that usually voids the return policy.
Why Are Sharp Skates Essential
Loss of Grip and Stability
Hockey skate blades have edges which cut or dig into the ice essentially providing you grip and allowing you to skate. Using skates straight out of the box with blunt edges translates to a lack of control, erratic movement patterns, and reduced speed and acceleration.
Safety Risks and Consistency
Unsharpened blades lead to uneven weight distribution on the ice, effectively reducing the predictability of the skates’ movement. This lack of control results in a decline in the player’s overall performance, and at times becomes a major safety hazard, increasing the risk of collisions and injuries.
Sharpening your skates, including the first sharpening of new skates, is a crucial job highly dependent on the player’s preferences. Distinct skate profiles and hollow grooves can be applied to blades while sharpening to enhance a player’s performance, based on their weight and playing style.
When to Sharpen Your Skates
As a general rule of thumb, hockey skates need to be sharpened every 10-15 hours of ice time. This timeframe can also vary based on several factors such as the location of the ice rink you play on, the residual debris on the rink, and the quality of the blades.
For new skates, after the first sharpening, this same rule applies. Skates must be sharpened often to minimize irregularities and remove nicks in the blade, which would otherwise hinder performance and control.
It is also crucial to note that if there are any visible nicks or other forms of damage on the edges of the skates, they should be immediately removed by sharpening; the above rule does not apply.
Tips for Finding a Reliable Skate Sharpening Service
Customer reviews, reputation, and experience tell you all you need to know about a specific skate-sharpening service. Reputable providers have a good history of serving the hockey community and delivering great sharpening services.
Personal recommendations from fellow hockey players and coaches in your league can be indispensable when choosing a provider. Recommendations from people with positive experiences can make it clearer in deciding which service providers to go with.
To recap, skates do not come sharpened unless explicitly mentioned, and having sharp skates is imperative to getting good performance and enhancing overall enjoyment. The first sharpening, and the rest too if you do not have any experience or training, should always be done by a professional lest any damage be done to them.
Buying new skates poses its own set of problems and questions, and we hope this article helped you to understand one of them. Always ensure that your skates are sharp and free from damage, as that would elevate your long-term performance and experience.
Do hockey skates come sharpened?
No, hockey skates usually do not come sharpened. Brand-new skates need to be sharpened by a professional before you can use them.
How often do I need to sharpen my ice hockey skates?
The frequency of how often should the skates be sharpened depends on how often you use them and how much you skate. For beginners and recreational skaters, sharpening skates every 10-15 hours of ice time is recommended. For advanced and competitive skaters, it may be necessary to get the skates sharpened more often.
What is the difference between a flat and hollow sharpening?
The most basic type of skate sharpening is flat sharpening, which creates a smooth and even edge on the skate blade. A hollow sharpening creates a curve on the edge of the blades and enables customization according to the desired performance and playstyle.
Where can I get my hockey skates sharpened?
Most sporting goods stores provide skate sharpening services, and some even provide you the option of sharpening new skates at the time of purchase. Some ice rinks may also provide sharpening services, but be sure to check the reviews for the place before handing over your skates.