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Protecting Your Investment: Caring For Ice Hockey Skates

Because skates play such an important part in skating, and are a big investment, it pays to take good care of them.

Sharpening

In order for your child to start and stop well, the blades of his skates need to be sharp.

  • Skate sharpening should be performed by an expert.

  • If at all possible, the same person should sharpen your child's skates the entire season.

  • Blades can be sharpened to adjust the radius of the blade (the length of the blade touching the ice surface), depending on the position your child plays.

    • To check the blade radius, put the blade of each skate against each other, hold them up to the light, and measure the extent of the blade contact.

    • The more blade contact, the more straightaway speed a player gets.

    • Because a forward needs to be able to turn and cut quickly, she may want only about two inches of blade contacting the ice.

    • Defenseman will probably want more blade on the ice, about three to five inches, in order to have a good solid base for body-checking.

 Skate Guards
 
You should make sure your child uses plastic or rubber skate guards to protect his skates when he is not skating.
  • Ideally, your child should not walk without skate guards on any surface other than the ice.

  • If possible, your child should wear skate guards right to the ice to avoid ruining the edges on the blades.

  • After each practice or game your child should wipe off the blades. He shouldn't them back into the guards unless the inside of the guards are dry (to avoid rusting).

Skate Maintenance
  • Check for broken stitching on your child's skates, and have them repaired when necessary.

  • The boots of hockey used to be made of leather, so that they needed to be polished and oiled like you shoes to help keep the leather soft and in good condition. Fortunately, skates are now made of composite materials and ballistic nylon covering the boot so that they no longer require oiling.

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