I’m guilty of something many hockey players are likely guilty of. When I come into Great Skate for a sharpening I hand my wheels over to a clerk, take my ticket and let them do their work on my skates. I don’t have a specific hollow size that I prefer and I simply deal with how my skates feel until the next time I need a sharpening.
This is the case for both my forward and goal skates, for what it’s worth.
When it comes to skate sharpening you should have a stronger opinion than myself. You should know what does and doesn’t work for you, what type of hollow would best suit your skills and, most importantly, you should have a high comfort level with how your skates are sharpened each and every time.
In the event that you need a refresher on some of the terminology on skate sharpening, here’s a few of the finer points.
- Hollow refers to the semi-circle shape formed on the bottom of your skate blade. This is made deeper by a sharpening.
- A hollow is measured by inches (and quarter inches too) with a deeper hollow being represented by lower numbers. For example, a 1” hollow won’t be as deep as a 1/2” hollow.
- Deeper hollows typically increase your agility, edge work and ability to turn as the edges on your skates will cut deeper into the ice.
- Shallow hollows won’t allow for as effective sharp turns due to your edges being far less sharp. However, you may feel like movement is easier since there will be less resistance. A shallow hollow allows for a little more speed.
Everything else is about feel. If you feel comfortable on the ice, you’ll perform better. For example, some goalies prefer a shallow hollow sometimes bordering on dull. I’m definitely one of those goalies. After I get my skates sharpened I’m typically heading right to the bench before warm ups to dull my blades a bit on the dasher.
This is a nifty trick if you don’t use it already. If your skates fee too sharp run them on the corner of the plastic runner and dasher board at the bench door. The plastic will help dull the blade down.
As for my forward skates, I like more of an edge but even then I’m far more accustomed to a slightly shallower hollow. This is likely to my upbringing as a goalie and my comfort in being able to pivot on the foot that I’m applying weight to without the threat of turning my ankle.
However, you may prefer having the ability to make sharp turns and dig hard into the ice. Or perhaps you like the idea of a gliding stride with a little less resistance. Once you know where you like to be, you can ask for a more efficient sharpening based on your skills.
Also understand that you may want to get your skates sharpened every other ice time while some guys prefer one sharpening every two months. Like with the size of a hollow, frequency of sharpenings also varies on a case-by-case basis. Even if you only get your skates sharpened now and then, a skate sharpening card from Great Skate is a great purchase.