Salem High School hockey information and statistics from the first season to the present

Ron Chisholm's Skate Sharpening

Bargain Skates

Presented by:   Ron Chisholm - a dedicated hockey fan, parent of four players, and past player and coach of many years.

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Cheap Skates May Not be a Bargain

As each hockey player begins to get ready for the new season, the equipment is taken out for a fit check.  Invariably, for the younger skater, the skates no longer fit the ever growing feet.  The skates must be replaced and dollar signs go through the minds of the parents.  How will this be handled?  There are several solutions to this annual problem.

  • Buy a pair of cheap skates because they will grow out of them very quickly.
  • Chalk it up to another cost of the game, and buy a good pair of skates.
  • Look for a pair of high quality used skates.

The first solution may be the easiest on the pocket book, but cheap skates can cause more problems than they solve.  Quality of the skates is usually directly proportional to the cost.  In other words, you get what you pay for - quality of design, materials, and workmanship. Skating is a learned skill and good skates can only enhance development.  The skates must provide a comfortable fit and provide good ankle support and the blades must be of good quality that can be sharpened to hold a good edge.

The second alternative is easily understood.  Bite the bullet, dig deep and spend the money.  Some shops will offer inventory clearing sales and reduce the price on prior year model skates as new models are introduced.  Substantial savings on top quality skates may be realized by finding these sales.

The last option is the one that might be most appealing to the person that would like to provide the best skates for a reasonable amount of money.  There is a high demand for used skates that are in good condition.  Watch for newspaper ads, youth league equipment sales, and rink bulletin board ads.  Certain shops, such as Play it Again Sports, specialize in second hand equipment.  Also if you keep your kids' skates in good condition, you'll have no trouble selling them at season's end.  High end skates are usually formed to fit the skater's foot.  This is normally done by heating the skate in an oven and then put on the foot and laced up.  As the skate cools, the material molds to the shape of the foot.  The skates can be remolded multiple times to fit the foot.

Buying Second-Hand Skates

If you are willing to spend a little bit of time looking, you may be able to save some money on a good quality second-hand skate.  To ensure a good deal, know what you are looking for, and heed these warning signs:

  • Loose or missing rivets.
  • Cut-up or damaged boot.
  • Missing or damaged eyelets.
  • Cut or pulled stitching.
  • Crooked or cracked blades or blade holders.
  • If blades on hockey skates measure 3/8" or less at the center of the blade, this means the life of the blade is just about over.  If the blade center is OK, but the tips are over-ground, the skate has limited useful life remaining.
  • Ankle support -- even better quality skates will break down with enough hard use.
  • Bent or damaged toe cap inside of the boot -- this causes toe chafing, and blistering.
  • Rough edges or heavy wear on the inside of the boot.

Getting A Skate That Fits

Finding good quality skates is one thing, but making sure that they fit properly is quite another.  A good fitting, comfortable skate is vital to continued improvement and enjoyment of the sport.

  • The Fit should be snug without being overly tight.  If you can move your foot inside the boot, the skate is probably too big.
  • The correct length is determined by placing the foot in an unlaced skate and pushing the foot forward as far as possible.  There should be room for your index finger behind the heel.  This space translates into sufficient toe room once the boot is laced up.
  • Adjust toe room depending on the child's growth rate.  A little less may be suitable for older children, while a six-year old foot requires slightly more leeway to make sure the skate lasts the winter.  But in all cases, be careful that the overall fit is snug.
  • If the skater suffers from ankle bending, the problem might be traced to poor support from broken down or poorly constructed boots.  However if this is not the case, the skate is probably too big.
  • Skate lacing also has a bearing on ankle support.  Properly tightened laces should be tightest just above the instep.

Additional Sharpening and Skate Information


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The information on this site has been collected from official scoresheets and from on ice observations.  As such, the final statistics are not to be construed as official or sanctioned by the Salem High School Athletic Department or by the NHIAA.  However, much of this information is not available from any other sources.

2014 Ron Chisholm & Associates
Salem, NH