4 ProTips on Skate Maintenance
Tyler Hinds (@THinds3)
Skates are arguably the most important piece of equipment that a hockey player has, for both safety and performance. On top of that, they are also the most expensive. Protect that investment by following these four ProTips on the best practices for prolonging the life of your skates.
Wipe the Steel
Immediately after finishing an ice session, use a rag to clean the snow, ice, & water off of your blades and holder. Inevitably, any water (or derivative) that is left on or around the steel will melt and lead to the development of rust on your blades.
Skate technology has come a long way in the past decade with an increased emphasis on making skates lighter. A big challenge is creating enough ventilation so the water and sweat locked inside can dry without compromising the integrity of the boot. Even with the advancements, it is still virtually impossible for your skates to dry completely without removing the insoles.
There are three benefits from removing your insoles:
- Your skates are much more likely to dry completely. You’ll thank me when your skates aren’t wet at 5:30am.
- Dry skates make for happy feet. Skates that dry completely are less likely to develop fungal growth that is responsible for causing athlete’s foot.
- The rivets at the base of your boot, responsible for securing the skate blade holder, are much less likely to rust, fall out, and need replacing. This will save you time, energy, and money.
Everyone has a personal preference about how sharp or dull they like their skates. Typically, younger players (atom and below) shouldn’t go more than a month without a sharpening, while older players (peewee and up) shouldn’t go more than two weeks without a sharpening. Your weight, skating frequency, style of skating, and personal preference all factor into this decision.
Here are some different hollow options to consider next sharpening:
- 3/8” – deep cut, lots of edge to turn or stop, but more friction so less glide. Ideal on hard ice (the cold rinks you hate being a spectator at).
- 1/2” – standard player cut, equal parts edge and glide. Good on any ice.
- 5/8” – shallow cut, less edge to turn or stop, but less friction so more glide. Ideal on soft ice (the warm rinks with lots of space and a large capacity).
- 1” – standard goalie cut, good for lateral pushes and gliding without too much bite.
Losing an edge happens. We’ve all experienced “blowing a tire” in the middle of an important play resulting in a turnover and a goal for the other team. Naturally, you will step on things while playing but this should never happen before you step foot on the ice. Protect your blades with skate guards; leave them on while you…
- get dressed
- walk around the room
- pack your skates in your hockey bag
Warning, don’t forget to take them off before you hit the ice!
New to hockey? Checkout 5 ProTips To Tying Your Own Skates to help your youngsters fend for themselves in the dressing room. Create your free ProSmart Hockey team to receive weekly divisional practice plans, core skill videos, & timely blogs.