Skiers decide what type of wax they put on their skis when they reach the slopes, race car drivers use specific tires for different road conditions and temperatures, yet it is amazing how few hockey players are aware of what hollow they presently have in their skates, much less adjusting that hollow according to what the ice temperature is. Those that are aware take very special precautions to insure the quality of their sharpening, for example: learning to do the work themselves, or mailing extra pairs of steel to the professionals they trust.

At the higher levels’ in any sport, the gap between good and excellent becomes very small; so as athletes become more educated, they will make sure they get every advantage possible out of the equipment they use.

I foresee the importance of skate sharpening becoming a major focus on teams with hired staff. In lieu of an equipment manager, who sharpens skates, we will see a skate technician as skilled on the sharpening machine as the players are skilled at playing hockey.

As coaches realize the benefits of having players with properly fitted and maintained skates, they will start searching out those professionals who can give their team that slight edge over the other teams. The coaches at the lower levels of hockey, without the extra staff, may not need to be experts in all the issues of producing a good hockey player, but they do need to be familiar enough to recognize experts in the specialized areas of nutrition, off ice training, and of course skate maintenance.

Placing some focus on these specialized fields will enhance the quality of the teams they are building.