Skate Sharpening Angles
When people are first getting into hockey, they are often confused about how they should get their skates sharpened. They might actually assume that everyone has the same blades on their skates at every level.
Well, to understand skate sharpening angles, all you have to do is know why players get their skates sharpened a certain way. This way you will know the advantages and disadvantages to each skate sharpening angle.
When a skate is sharpened, it’s given what’s called a “hollow” at the bottom-center of the blade. This hollow will have multiple impacts on how the skate works for the player who wears the skates. Some will allow a player to skate faster at the risk of less grip, others will give far better grip at the cost of glide. There are also hollows that fall in between those two categories.
When you get a shallow hollow – say 1” or 5/8” – the blade will be flatter on the ice, giving you a bit more speed. However, since the hollow is shallow, you won’t have as much grip on the ice and you could find yourself falling over a bit more if you don’t have the skating skills necessary for this skate sharpening angle.
If you get a deeper hollow, such as with a ½” or 3/8” blade, then you can expect to have plenty of grip on the ice. These are great skate sharpening angles for smaller players since they can make up for the lost speed simply by being faster all-around skaters than their opponents. Beginners will also usually stick to deeper hollows since they will learn to stay up on the ice until they are ready to move on to other, shallower hollows.
7/16” blades are considered to be a great starting point for new hockey players since they are the most balanced. However, it is important to factor in where you will be playing. Someone who plays pickup hockey in Toronto will usually need different skate blades than someone playing in a pro league