Do ice hockey skates come sharpened? If you’re looking to buy new ice hockey skates and wondering if they come sharpened, you’re in the right place. Properly sharpened ice hockey blades go a long way. They influence how fast you can skate, stop or turn when playing ice hockey.
Unfortunately, most ice hockey skates don’t come from the factory sharpened. They’re often U-shaped, rounded, dull, and flattened. This is a single edge blade that isn’t cut out for ice hockey because you won’t get great results with it. It would be best to have the blades sharpened by a professional blade sharpener before playing.
But, this is only the scratch on the surface! In the rest of this guide, I cover the characteristics of new ice hockey skate blades and how to get the best out of them. You surely don’t want to miss out on this. So, I urge you to read till the end. Let’s get to it!
Characteristics of New Ice Hockey Skates Blades from the Factory
All new ice hockey skates have two things in common when you get them from the packaging box—a blade holder and a blade attached to it. The blades are usually U-sharped, single-edged, rounded, flattened, and dull. Experienced ice hockey players will tell you that these skates aren’t ready for use from the gate.
As a newbie hockey player, you probably think you can use your skates right away. No! That’s not how it works, especially when you want the best performance on the rinks. Dull and unsharpened ice hockey skates are a no-go zone for many reasons. Let’s quickly dive into that!
Why Unsharpened Ice Hockey Skate blades aren’t the Best
- Have little edge: Blade edges help a great deal when skating on ice. The edges usually dig into the ice, making skating a breeze. Therefore, a little edge means your skates won’t be digging into the ice as they should.
- Slide easily when playing: The trickle effect of little blade edge is instability, making it easy to fall. It also means you can’t stop or turn when skating. Honestly, it’s not comfortable to play a hockey match with this kind of ice hockey skate blades.
- Have a layer of slippery plastic coating: This isn’t present in all ice hockey skates. However, most ice hockey blades have this plastic coating to protect the blade. Skating without sharpening the blades means the coating remains intact. This hinders smooth skating.
Do you have to Sharpen Hockey Skates?
If you were wondering whether you need to sharpen ice hockey skates, it’s now crystal clear. You have to sharpen ice hockey skates to prepare them for an ice hockey skating game. New and unsharpened ice hockey blades can be a nuisance on the rink, which is why you got to sharpen them.
That being said, the question remains, how do you sharpen ice hockey skate blades? The truth is, it’s pretty simple but can be such a brainer to some people. The best blades for ice hockey should be double-edged with the optimum hollow radius. Let’s break that down!
You can only achieve a double-edged hockey blade by digging a hollow groove in the blade bottom. It’s a delicate procedure that professionals should only conduct. You can opt for a deep or a shallow hollow. How do they compare? You’re probably asking.
Both options have pros and cons. So you want to choose them wisely. A deep hollow grove digs deep into the ice and provides more stability. However, a deep hollow compromises on speed. This is its biggest undoing. It may, therefore, not be a good fit if you want more speed when playing.
On the other hand, a shallow groove offers more speed on the ice. Unfortunately, you’ll experience more stability issues, stopping problems, and the inability to make quick turns. The shallow groove hollow will be a good fit if you need more speed and are ready to compromise on turns and stops.
How Sharp Should Hockey Skates Be?
Hockey skates edges can either be 1 inch or 3/8 inch sharp. Blades cut at 1 inch to create a groove often have shallow hollows and thick edges. On the other hand, blades cut at 3/8 inch result in deep hollow grooves, cutting deep through the ice.
Both radius types (small and wide) have pros and cons, and we’ve already looked at them. But to reiterate, small radius blades have shallow hollows and are great for speed. Conversely, wide radius blades have deep hollows and are great for making quick turns, stops and enhancing stability.
How Often Should Hockey Skates be sharpened?
In a hockey skate sharpening guide by Purehockey, many hockey players do it once to twice a month. AJ Lee of ProstockHockey says, “A rule of thumb is for every 15 to 20 hours of ice time.” All this is subjective because the need to sharpen your hockey skates depends on how often you skate.
There’s no doubt that if you skate every day, you’ll also need to sharpen the skate blades at least every two days. The bottom line is to ensure your blades are often in the best condition for exemplary performance in the rinks. It would help if you made this judgment yourself.
But, if you’re still new, you can stick with it once to twice a month or as the need arises. The next question will be, how do you know your hockey skate blades need sharpening? Honestly, this can be tough for many beginners. The good news is that it gets better with time. Below are quick checks to run!
- When you see reflections on the blade after looking them through a bright light.
- Running your fingers along the blade edges and feeling for nicks and gouges. You won’t feel any nicks or gouges if the blades are adequately sharp.
- When you find yourself struggling after wearing the skates because you can’t make quick turns, stops and your speed is also terrible.
What Influences the need to sharpen your Ice Hockey Skates
Many things come into play to determine how often you should sharpen your hockey blades. Sharpening your blades too often can wear them out quickly. Sharpening them less often also means low performance. You, therefore, want to settle for the soft spot.
Below are the things that will determine if you sharpen your blades often or not. Let’s take a quick look at them.
- Skating on too cold ice—too cold ice rinks can be a little harder than usual. This wears out edges pretty fast.
More>> Are Ice Skating Rinks Cold?
- Skating indoors or outdoors—the outdoor ice rink is often harder than an indoor ice rink. This means your blades will wear out quickly when skating outdoors at a frozen lake or pond than when skating indoors.
- Nature of the blades—low-quality blades don’t compare with top-quality blades because they easily wear out. It’s crucial to only buy ice hockey skates with elite-level blades.
How to Sharpen your Ice Hockey Skates
The truth is, you can sharpen your ice hockey skates yourself or take them to a professional blades sharpener. Either option has a pro and a con. However, if you aren’t sure what you’re doing, you should take the blades to a professional sharpener.
Though it may cost you a few dollars, you’re at least guaranteed your blades will be in good shape after the procedure. The problem is, doing it yourself can damage the blades, especially when you don’t know how to do it.
A good place to go for blade sharpening is your local ice hockey store. The best part is, most of them won’t charge you a dime, especially when you’re a regular customer.
Ice Hockey Skates Blades Commonly Asked Questions
1. Do beginner ice skates need to be sharpened?
Most beginner ice skates need to be sharpened because they’re usually not pre-sharpened from the factory. However, a few beginner ice skates come pre-sharpened from the factory, meaning you can use them right away without sharpening.
2. Do ice skates come pre-sharpened?
Only a few ice skates come pre-sharpened from the factory. Conversely, the vast majority are usually not sharpened. They often have U-shaped blades, are dull, rounded, single-edged, and flattened.
3. How do I know if my ice skates are sharpened?
The best way to know if your ice skates are sharpened is to check for a hollow groove under the blades. You can also run a thumb test and light test to ascertain that the edges are perfect. Sharpened blades don’t have gouges on them. You can verify this through the light test.
4. Do hockey players sharpen their skates?
Hockey players sharpen their skates to enhance blade and their performance at the rinks. Sharpened blades are fast and easy to maneuver around with. Nonetheless, hockey players sharpen their states according to their preferences. Some prefer speed, while others prefer stability and control when playing.
Do Ice Hockey Skates Come Sharpened? Final thoughts
Do ice hockey skates come sharpened? The truth is, the vast majority of ice hockey skates don’t come from the factory sharpened. Only a few brands have pre-sharpened ice hockey skates. You, therefore, need to sharpen your new skates according to your taste and preference when playing. I hope you found this guide helpful. Happy skating!