How often should hockey skates be sharpened? Honestly, it’s pretty hard to tell if you’re new to the sport. But, it’s not hard as you think. Well-sharpened ice hockey skates aren’t only fancy. They also enhance safety and performance whether playing indoor or outdoor hockey rink.
Hockey skates should be sharpened after 8-20 hours of ice time to enhance their performance. However, some hockey players choose to sharpen their hockey skates before every game, once a week, once or twice a month, or once or twice a year. Overall, the need to sharpen ice hockey skates depends on the ice time, nature of the rink, position one plays, and personal preference.
But, this is only the tip of the iceberg. I cover more depth in the rest of this blog. You don’t want to miss out on what is in store for you. So, I urge you to read on to the end. Let’s get to it!
How often Do Hockey Players Sharpen their Skates?
There’s no definite timeframe to sharpen hockey skates. Consequently, most hockey players sharpen their hockey blades as the need arises. Nonetheless, the quick rule of thumb is to sharpen hockey skates after 8-20 hours if you must.
You also want to avoid frequent sharpening because it’s the quickest way to find yourself shopping for new blades. That’s why you need to strike a balance! Overall, the best time to sharpen your hockey blades for optimal performance is whenever you feel they’re blunt.
Remember, your efficiency at the rinks depends on the nature of your hockey blades. Well-sharpened hockey skates are more efficient than blunt ones. They make turning, stopping, speeding, and balancing a breeze. On the other hand, blunt hockey blades can be frustrating at best.
So, as soon as you notice your hockey skates are slowing you down, that’s a good sign you need to have them sharpened. There are other signs, as you’ll discover in a few. That said, apart from sharpening hockey skates after 8-20 hours of ice time, you can also do it on longer time frames as follows.
- Once or twice a week—works for people who play hockey once or twice a week.
- Once or twice a month—works for people who play hockey once or twice a month.
- Before every ice hockey game—this can take as short or as long as necessary.
- Once or twice a year—works for people who skate less frequently. This is probably outdoors in winter.
What Determines How Frequently Ice Hockey Blades are sharpened?
So much comes to play regarding how frequently ice hockey blades should be sharpened. Let’s take a deep dive into that!
1. Type of rink—indoor or outdoor
There are two types of ice hockey rinks—indoor and outdoor rinks. The main difference between the two rinks is the type of ice. While indoor rinks have light and soft ice, outdoor rinks have thick and heavy ice. Thus, hockey blades go blunt fast when skating on an outdoor rink.
This means that you’ll need to sharpen your hockey skates frequently if you play more on outdoor rinks than indoor rinks. Outdoor rinks require sharp blades since the ice is a little hard. You should ensure you have the right hollow groove for your blades.
2. Players Position
One can play three main positions in ice hockey—goalie, defense, and forward. Goalie blades are pretty different from everyone else on the rink because they don’t require sharpening. However, some goalies still have them sharpened using a small hollow radius.
Defense and forwards need to be fast to defend and to score. This is only possible with mildly sharp blades which don’t stick deep into the ice. Overall, their hockey skates should be moderately sharpened for notch performance—neither too sharp nor too blunt.
3. Ice Hockey Blade Material
Some blades are made from elite-level metals, while others are average. The best blades are made from elite-level metals, and they don’t get gouges and nicks easily. This also means they won’t go blunt often whether you use them on an indoor or outdoor rink. On the other hand, it doesn’t matter where you play hockey using average blades because you’ll need to sharpen them more often.
4. Hockey Skill Level
There are three types of skill levels in ice hockey—newbies, intermediates, and pro hockey players. Newbies and intermediates don’t put their blades to work like pro hockey players. This means they won’t have to sharpen their blades as often as pro players.
5. Hockey Players’ Personal Preference
While some players love to sharpen their blades frequently, others love to do it once in a while. A player’s position also influences this in the team. Some hockey players value speed more, so they’ll get shallow hollows that are seldom sharpened. On the other hand, some hockey players value stability and control, so they’ll go for deep hollows, which are sharpened frequently.
How Do You Tell if Your Skates Need Sharpening?
Knowing when to sharpen hockey skates is a skill that can be learned. All you need to know is how to diagnose the blades if they’re in good condition for notch performance. That being said, you’ll know the blades need sharpening when their performance goes down.
Suddenly, you notice you can’t make quick turns and stops anymore. Stability begins to waver, and speed slows down drastically. At that point, the best you can do to salvage the situation is to sharpen the blades again.
You can also check manually check the blades in addition to blade performance at the rinks. So, look at the blades through direct light. Reflections on the blade surface mean it has gouges and nicks. You can also run the thumb test to feel for gouges and nicks.
How Sharp Should Hockey Skates Be?
Hockey skates should be between 3/8-5/8 inch sharp, which is the sweet spot for optimum performance on the rinks. This means the edges should dig into the ice without compromising your speed, stopping and turning ability, and balance. Too sharp blades dig deep into the ice, thus compromising speed.
On the other hand, fairly sharp blades remain on the ice surface and are fast enough. Fairly sharp blades are also great for making quick turns and stops. Most importantly, they enhance stability when moving around the rink, thus lowering your chances of falling.
How to Sharpen Hockey Skates
You can stick tools in your hockey bag for sharpening hockey skates. But, it’s advisable you only use them for touch up before a hockey match. That said, the best way to sharpen hockey skates is to take them to professional sharpeners who know their craft.
While some charge a fee for this, others don’t. So if you’re on a budget, you can find blade sharpeners who won’t charge you a dime. Often, you’ll find them at your local hockey gear store, especially when you’re a regular customer.
How often Should Hockey Skates be Sharpened? Commonly Asked Questions
1. Can you sharpen your skates too much?
Yes! The optimum hollow groove size should be between 3/8-5/8 inches. However, some blades use up to ½ inches. Sharpening your skates too much means going outside the required threshold. What this means is you may find yourself shopping for new hockey skates.
2. Do hockey players sharpen their skates?
Hockey players can sharpen their skates when they have the skills. However, it’s advised to take your skates to a professional blades sharpener when you’re not sure of what you’re doing.
3. Do I need to sharpen my skates every year?
You can sharpen your skates every year, month, week, or day. Overall, the need to sharpen hockey skates depends on ice time. So, if you play hockey regularly, you may need to have your blades sharpened after every 8-20 hours of ice time. However, if you only play hockey outdoors during winter, you can have them sharpened every year when winter begins.
How often Should Hockey Skates be Sharpened? | Final Thoughts
Overall, hockey skates should be sharpened depending on a player’s ice time. Others do it after 8-20 hours or before every game. On the other hand, some do it once or twice a week, once or twice a month, once or twice a year. Hope you found this guide helpful. Cheers!