Do Ice Hockey Skates Come Sharpened?

Posted on January 31, 2020 by Dan Kent
skate sharpen

Have you just bought a new pair of ice hockey skates? If you’re curious about whether or not the new skates come sharpened, it’s a smart question to ask. You wouldn’t want to hit the ice with dull skate blades, but you also wouldn’t want to spend money to re-sharpen freshly sharpened blades. We’ll look into the details on new skates and skate sharpening here.

New hockey skates do not come sharpened. Not only are the skates not pre-sharpened, but the first sharpening is an important one. The bottoms of blades on new skates are flatter and rounded, so they need a hollow groove cut into them before they should be used. A trained sharpener with proper equipment will give the blades on new skates the edges needed to perform effectively on the ice.

Some hockey shops will ask if you want your skates sharpened and will offer this as an additional add-on service – but be aware that this will likely void the returns policy.

Are New Skates Already Sharpened When You Buy Them?

When you purchase new skates, they will come equipped with plastic holders and skate blades.

But don’t be deceived by your shiny new skates! Their skate blades are not yet ready to use.

Most newly manufactured skates are fitted with a skate blade that is rounded on the bottom. This leaves the blade with very little edge.

Skate blades need edges to be able to dig into the ice.

You dig into the ice every time you take a stride or stop on the ice. You also use your edge to turn and maintain balance.

Without an edge, your skate blades will slide on the ice. This would make it difficult to skate or even stand on the ice at all.

Some new skate blades also come with a thin layer of plastic coating that needs to be ground off during the sharpening.

New skates are not sharpened, so you will need to get them sharpened by a trained sharpener, and then re-sharpened every 15-20 hours of ice time – to keep them in tip top condition by removing knicks and deformaties in the metal edge.

Why Should You Sharpen Your Skates?

hockey skates
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The first time you sharpen new skate blades, a “hollow” will be cut into the bottom of the blade. The hollow is a small groove that leaves edges on both sides of the bottom of the blade.

The hollow cut into the blade will be shaped like an arc, giving a sharp edge to the inside and outside of your blade.

The sharpening itself grinds down the steel skate blade. This provides a fresh, sharp layer of skate blade each time you get your skates sharpened.

After many skate sharpenings, you may eventually need to replace the skate blades if they become ground down too low. But this usually only occurs after a period of years.

You can get your skates sharpened at most sporting goods stores that sell hockey equipment. Most stores sharpen new skates for free when you’ve bought them at the store.

outdoor rink

In sum, new pairs of skates do not come sharpened (unless request). The first skate sharpening after you buy them is also critical to their effectiveness on the ice. So, don’t rush out onto the ice with your new pair of skates. Take the time to sharpen them first so your skates have edges. You’ll of course need those edges to be a fast skater and effective contributor to your team.

P.S Use skate holders to protect the blade and the rest of your bag during travel.

Dan Kent

About the author

Growing up in a hockey hotbed (Calgary, Alberta. And yes, I'm an Oiler fan), I decided to put my love and knowledge of the game to work. I started at five and am still playing today into my early 30s. By acquiring Brave Stick Hockey and rebranding it to Big Shot Hockey in 2023, I plan to teach people about this great game and educate them on the best equipment and history of the game. On a career level, I am in finance, running one of the largest financial websites in Canada,

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