How fast you skate can make or break your game, and the quality of your skate blades is vital for your stride. Even though the runners, as they’re known, are made from steel and other durable materials, they can wear out and get damaged. So, as time passes by, you will need to replace them.
Blades are replaceable in almost all skates, except for cheaper models. It’s best to replace them when they have signs of damage, like chipping, rust or bends, or they’ve worn out from sharpening. You can replace your hockey skate blades with basic tools, and many skates have a quick-release option.
Changing the blades is essential of any hockey player’s routine to have the best stride possible. While it might seem like there’s a lot of information regarding skate blades, their maintenance, and how to replace them, I’ll give you the tips you need to better understand the steel between you and the ice.
How Long Do Hockey Skate Blades Last?
Hockey skate blades will last according to your level of expertise, how often you play, and the quality of your gear.
The first thing to consider is that you have to sharpen your runners frequently to ensure the best grip on the ice. As you do so, the steel in the blades will gradually diminish in size.
For recreational players who skate a couple of times a week, blades can last up to five years, and sometimes more.
Players who compete at higher levels and skate more frequently will see that their runners need a replacement in less time.
Also, many factors can affect the lifespan of your steel, apart from how often you skate. Your skating technique and how you sharpen your skate also play a part in whether you have to buy new blades or not. So, instead of measuring your blades’ duration in years, other indicators make it easy for you to know when you should sharpen or change your blade.
When Should I Replace My Skate Blades?
You should replace your skate blades when skating doesn’t feel right, and sharpening is no longer useful. But, before you go replacing them, make a visual inspection. If there’s still enough steel there, you can have a professional sharpen your skates for another go.
If you can’t sharpen them or there isn’t enough steel left, then you should replace your blade, as it is one of the most critical factors in your game. But how can you tell?
It’s actually straightforward. According to Pure Hockey, you should always check your blade to see any chips or cracks on the steel. Also, check for any signs of bending, especially after blocking a shot. A damaged skate blade will directly affect how you skate.
Rust is also one of the most common forms of damage that a hockey blade can have. While chipping or a crack is a sure sign that you need to replace the blade, rust is easily preventable. Be sure to wipe down the steel with a dry towel as soon as you are done skating. A repair center might grind away slight rust, but if the blade is too rusty, it’s best to change it.
If your skate doesn’t have interchangeable blades, you will need to replace the holder, the white part under the boot. Changing a holder can sometimes be expensive, so analyze whether replacing the holder is cheaper than a new skate.
How Do I Change a Hockey Blade?
There are two main ways of changing the blade in your skate. Some skates require that you unscrew the runner from the holder. You can do this at home, and it’s not a complicated process, but it does require time. Usually, you just need screwdrivers.
The holder has plugs over the screws. All you need to do is uncover the screws, loosen them with your screwdriver, and then release the runner to unscrew the blade. Since the plugs are plastic, they might wear out in time. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can always take your skates to your local skate shop to have the blades replaced.
Brands like Bauer and CCM offer quick-release systems, in which, through a mechanism, you can quickly change your blade. You can expect to find these options in skates starting at a midrange price point.
Quick-release blades are easy to change, but they can also come loose after receiving a powerful shot. According to the site Discount Hockey, players with quick-release models should always carry an extra pair if the blades come loose in a game and get damaged.
How Much Do Hockey Skate Blades Cost?
The main factor that defines how much a skate blade costs is whether they are quick release or not. The traditional models will cost from $25 to $50 per unit. If you take these blades to a local shop to replace them, these shops might charge a small fee to replace them.
Quick-release blades can cost between $80 to $150, and usually, they are sold in pairs, but you should make sure to check that the model you are looking for is sold individually or in pairs. However, there are other items that you should have to keep your blades in the best condition possible.
Brands like Bauer and CCM have carrying sets for your runners so that you have an extra pair for the game. These cases cost from $15 to $30, and they are padded to provide more cushion for the blades.
Once you’ve put your skates on, you have to protect the steel if you haven’t hit the ice yet. For this, you can buy blade protectors that allow you to walk from your bench to the ice. Most of these models will work for all sizes and cost from $15 to $25.
What Are The Best Hockey Skate Blade Replacements?
Since you can change the blade in your skates, you can also upgrade them. Many manufacturers have come up with aftermarket runners that outperform the stock steel in your skates.
According to the website ProStock Hockey, here are some of the better models out there:
- Bauer has introduced its Lightspeed line of blades (commonly referred to as the TUUK runners) that offer a combination of stainless steel and a carbon coating for edge retention and sharpness. Keep in mind that these are only available for Bauer Tuuk holders.
- CCM has its SpeedBlade Black line of runners on the top of the line Super Tacks and Ribcor skate models. If you are opting for a less expensive option, you can choose the Hyperglide Steel.
- True might not be as common a brand as CCM or Bauer, but 11% of NHL skaters wore True skates in 2018. They come with Step Steel blades, a small manufacturer with high-grade steel in their two latest blades, the Velocity Steel and the Black Steel.
- Tydan Performance prides itself in having the NHL’s toughest blade, a trait that allows its products to be used in the harshest of conditions with little wear.
As you can see, you can replace your skate blade and, in fact, you should!
Fortunately, there are many models out there to choose from and, with a bit of patience, you can even learn to change them yourself.
Hockey skate blades are one of the most critical parts of your game. They will help your stride but will hinder your game if they’re damaged. So proper maintenance and high-quality products are essential to have the best skating possible.
Hopefully, this article has shed some light on the things you need to know about hockey skate blades so that, next time you have to change them, you can choose the best for your game.