The mystery of hockey skate blade

Mary, you may have a different input from someone more experienced than me, and you may have already tried what I’m about to say… but in case it’s helpful.  

The point is “try a shallower hollow” and “use a stone.” Read on only if you’re interested.

“catching an edge” means catching the outside edge, right? That’s a really painful fall.  In my opinion, one of two things causes this. 

1. The blade is too deep in the ice = go to a shallower hollow. 

Having a too-deep hollow is like walking through mud. You sink into the ice and have to lift your foot up and out, or you’ll catch an edge or (in my case) toe-pick. 

Ice is as hard as concrete but with a soft surface. Temperature of a rink is controlled so the tiny heat from the friction of a blade running over the ice melts the ice. That means that the blade “digging” into the ice happens all the time even when we are just gliding or casually turning a cross over.

If you go to a shallower hollow, you’ll notice the feeling of “feet in rail tracks” will also dissipate. – you’re probably thinking “I don’t have ‘feet in a track’ feel?” More on this later. 

2. Irregular surface on the side of the blade = use a burr stone. 

Skates are sharp, so the edge itself is thin like a knife. It can get folded over easily especially with a deeper hollow. Have you used a knife as a screw driver? Yes, that.
Attached is my skate as I found it just now. The edge looks white and fuzzy because it’s got a burr. I’m not worried – I stone my skates before every game.  

Don’t just change the hollow in search of an answer though. ‎
Some factors that are crucial to selecting a hollow: 
– the skater: size, style, skill, and how often they are willing to take the skates to the shop.

– rocker: physics-wise, hollow and rocker (“profile”) work together to make it work or not work. One can also counteract the changes you make to the other.

– rink: warm rink = soft ice = shallower hollow. Or do the temperature fluctuate between rink 1 and rink 3? Go with the warmer one.

A.  “Sharp” and “deep” 

As the other article mentioned, a sharp blade does not need to be deep even for 230-lb NHS players. So going deep is a compromise between sharp and deep.

Here is the problem is deep.
Take a sharp knife and cut 2 inches into a cake. Now push it horizontally. Take a knife and cut 1/2″ into the cake and push. Shallow is easier, meaning catching the edge won’t jolt you as much.
Take a dull knife. Cut 2 inches into the case. Not easier than sharp knife. It’s not about sharp. It’s about deep.

Here is the problem with shallow.
Analogy:  A sharp axe is just as sharp as a razor. “A little bit dull” razor will still cut you, but “a little bit dull” axe will only bruise you.
So if we go as shallow as pro hockey players, we’d have to sharpen every period like they do.

You might have trouble having a conversation about this with hockey people. Sharp and deep are confused a lot, even by scholarship players and ex-pro I’ve met. How many times have you heard “oh my skates are too sharp.” What they are feeling – the “feet in the track” feel, “catching the edge” feel, “hard to turn” feel is caused by it being too deep and/or the rocker being too flat, not by too sharp (cake analogy). ‎
B. What is your profile/rocker? 

First of all, in this area we typically use the word “profile” to refer to the shape of the blade when you look at it from the side. So that’s how I use it here.


If you have a very rounded profile, only a small portion of the metal touches the ice (see photo)


. If the normal profile is like a snowshoe, you’ll be on stilts, going deeper into the ice. So if you flatten the rocker profile, you may not have to flatten the hollow.  


P.s. Everyone has a rounded profile because every time the skates get sharpened, they get just a little bit more rounded. ‎

C. ‎”Feet in the track” feel
It is caused by the rocker being too flat and the hollow being too deep. You end up creating the situation of cross country skiing. ‎
If you experience this as you play around with hollows and profile, congratulations! ‎In my personal opinion, we should all find that spot then back it off a little. That’s the most effective spot to skate. Just try not to get hurt before you get a chance to fix it. ‎
You can fix it by going less flat in profile or more flat in hollow. ‎‎

Hope it was helpful, but please ask me if you wish to know more. ‎


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