Intelligent Design vs Evolution.

I am currently reading a book entitled, “Darwins Doubt” by Stephen C. Meyer. It refutes the claim that Evolution is responsible for the biodiversity that we observe today and in the past. Many of us were taught to accept ‘Evolution’ as a fact. It is a Theory.

From my point of view, I see myself as a skeptic and I rely on empirical evidence to either agree with or refute any claim. However, writing extemporaneously—I am not a Biologist or a Geneticist—I tend to rely on my intuition and personal observations and musings as well as my analysis of the literature. Many of us have probably contemplated the origins of Life and wondered why is there so much diversity; so many different and amazing forms of Life on Earth. How and when did Life begin on Earth?

Since people were not there at the beginning to witness the first life forms, no one knows for certain that Life began from some kind of organic soup mixture that somehow formed the first living cell that was capable of reproducing itself and, through various processes ie. genetic mutation or epigenesis, was responsible for all the Life that has appeared on Earth and all the Life forms we have today.

The fossil record is quite extensive: over 100 million fossils are located in museums all over the World. So far, scientists, biologists, paleontologists, anthropologists, etcetera, have been unable to prove or find any intermediate or transitional links between one life form miraculously transforming or ‘evolving’ into another higher or multicellular life form. In effect, Stephen C. Meyer refutes the common orthodoxy of those who believe in organic evolution and makes a very strong case for Intelligent Design—a view and conclusion that I agree with. Stephen provides a cogent and persuasive argument for Intelligent Design.

The question I have is this: if the first life form was capable of thriving and surviving, why would it find it necessary to evolve into a more complex life form—let alone be the precursor to all Life Forms and biodiversity we see today? Moreover, we assume that some intelligence is responsible for creating the first computer or cell phone or wrist watch, but what about the incredible complexity of the Universe and Life? Does it not seem obvious to you that it had to have an Intelligent Designer? Someone had to build your house; it did not just appear out of nowhere with the structure intact. 

Stephen C. Meyer’s argument against Neo-Darwinism is brilliant. He writes about the Cambrian explosion and questions why those in the scientific community—from many related and diverse disciplines— are so ideologically averse to the idea of Intelligent Design. He has his detractors but, as Science progresses, more and more people are beginning to rethink their hypotheses and re-evaluate their positions on Evolution.

We are living on a very beautiful planet, floating in space; orbiting an ordinary Sun. We are just the right distance from the Sun to allow for the existence of Life and the four seasons ( due to just the right tilt of the Earth on its axis); is able to create its own weather; has just the right mixture of gases to support Life in just the right concentrations; has all the resources we and other living creatures need in order to survive. Yes, the Earth and the Universe is a glorious creation and it—in my opinion—did not happen by accident. Thanks for reading. 

Wednesday Drill of the Week: Tiger Transition

Coach Chris Hall

Tiger Transition

A full ice transition drill.

The drill starts with the three F’s (in black O’s in the neutral zone) attacking the offensive zone 3v0. They attack the blue line, make a play behind the net and then get a shot.

The as the O forwards attack the net, the X players (green lines) step out and simulate a neutral zone regroup (started by the coach). The O defensemen gap up and play a 3v2 rush vs the X forwards with the X D joining.

After the O forwards get a shot on net, they backcheck the play into defensive zone coverage. Now the X’s and the O’s play 5v5 in zone.

The drill creates a transitional sequence offensively (neutral zone play) and defensively (backchecking from a shot on net). It forces the players to play in situations that arise naturally in a hockey game and make the correct reads and…

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Wednesday Drill of the Week: Bandits Backcheck

Coach Chris Hall

Bandits Backcheck.jpg

A backcheck/transition drill this week.

The drill starts with five O players stationary – two F’s below the goal line, one high F3 and two D on the blueline. X starts with the puck on the half wall.

On the whistle, X takes off with the puck. The D play the rush while F3 backpressures the puck carrier (or however you structure your backchecks). Either the D or F3 angle the puck carrier into the wall and force a turnover while the other player retrieves the puck and quickly transitions it up ice to either F. The defensive team then transitions to a 3v0 attack on net (D join the play).

To add another element to the drill, place two defensive D down low with the forwards below the goal line for a 3v2 offensive attack.

I really like this drill as a transition, gap, reattack game scenario for all…

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The Cutting Edge to Skate Sharpening

By Jim Johnson

Equipment is essential to the game of ice hockey and one of the most frequently overlooked components is that of the skate blade.  At every level of the game it is imperative for players to appreciate the importance of having their blades sharpened correctly.  It should be the goal of every hockey player to understand the elements of the skate blade and the value of having the blades sharpened correctly. 

 Having played in the National Hockey League for 13+ years and having coached at various levels from amateur to professional, I have a keen understanding of the advantages of having the skate blade properly sharpened.  As a player and a coach I have taken an interest in “what makes the best skaters in hockey the best?”  Not only have I realized the importance of a fundamentally sound skating stride but the underlying theme to success is often…

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Kant’s Morality: Summary and Problems


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is one of the most important and influential modern philosophers. He was born in Königsberg, the ancient, seven-bridged Prussian capital which became, in 1945 (after deportation of most of the German population to the Gulag archipelago), the bizarre Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad. It is said that Kant never traveled further than 10 miles from his home town in all of his 79 years. It is also said that Kant, who was a lifelong bachelor and a caricatured embodiment of stern Prussian sensibilities, never deviated from his schedule by a single minute, so that local townsfolk could ‘set their watches’ by his daily walks. However unlikely (or apocryphal) these stories remain, they do not diminish the legacy Kant has left to the world of ideas. Considered somewhat of a ‘late-bloomer’, Kant’s first major work, the Critique of Pure Reason, appeared in 1781 when he was 47…

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On Behalf of SSU.

There is a new Group on Facebook: Skate Sharpening University or SSU.

610 Members, Worldwide!

Our mandate is to share our knowledge and experiences with other Group Members who own and operate their own businesses and to mentor those who may consider starting a business. However, our Group Policy is very specific on who we will consider for Membership.

SSU is very proud and honored to have two distinguished and recognized gentlemen who have very important roles in our Group: Mr. John Doolan who was the Head Equipment Manager for the Pittsburgh Penguins and has 38 years experience; and, Mr. Wally Tatomir who was the Head Equipment Manager for the Stanley Cup Champion, Carolina Hurricanes.

There is considerably more to owning and operating a professional skate shop besides sharpening and profiling our customers skates. All of us have to understand Marketing, Customer Relations Management, Accounting Principles and Point-of-Sale; the Sales Cycle, Merchandising and what motivates people to buy a particular product or service.

Most of the People in our Group own and operate their own professional skate shop and skate sharpening is just one component of their business. Other services may include ‘Profiling’ or ‘Contouring’—grinding and shaping the ‘rocker’ radius of the skate blade, equipment repairs and skate maintenance, blade runner replacements and the retailing of Sports Accessories.


Let me give you an example. A customer will come into our shops and drop off their skates. You may think that is all there is to it, but there is more ( this is where the ‘educational’ component kicks in).

There is more than one way to sharpen and profile a skate. In fact, there are multiple hollow grinds and dozens of profiles to choose from. An important part of our jobs is to educate and inform you on what may work best for you. We will receive multiple questions on when should I get my skates sharpened, why am I slipping on my skates, etcetera, and the purpose of SSU is to be able to answer any and all questions our customers and our Members may have. We have established an online community to help each other. I think most, if not all, of us have wondered if there was something we could do differently to tweak a customers skates and help them perform better.

Recently, we had a discussion on skate hones and honing techniques—a crucial and exacting step to finish the blade after sharpening. Other conversations include sharpening techniques, product reviews, profiling and equipment systems, blade runner steel and which sharpening stones provide the best results and finish; what hollow grinds tend to be favored by the Pros and our customers; and, what new technologies are available; social media marketing and shop promotion and more.

Our 539 Members are situated throughout the United States, Europe and Canada and we have diverse backgrounds with many years of experience working in our established shops or working as professional equipment managers for Elite Sports Teams. Several Top Level Coaches and interested parents are Members. All of us can add or contribute to the archived knowledge that we have access to. A new study on ROC ( RADIUS OF CONTOUR) AND ROH ( RADIUS OF HOLLOW) and the significance and effectiveness on the pitch of the blade will be out this summer—a study only OUR Members will have access to. Also, we have multiple files (pdf) on Duties of Equipment Managers—a 24 page document.


We have a wealth of practical knowledge that will benefit the Group and, ultimately, benefit our customer/clients. We want to set the standard for our respective Proshops and offer our customers the very best skate sharpening and professional skating advice possible. As the Founder of SSU, I always emphasize that we want to help our customers with their skating and that is why we caught the attention of several skating experts and instructors.

Learning is a life-long endeavour in every aspect of our Lives and we are committed to it.


David W. Carlson/Karlsson

JOIN US, Today!


We also stay current or up-to-date on the latest research and skate technology and we have several members with PH.D’s who also contribute to the success of our Group.

And this is what separates SSU members—the small, independent skate shop— from our competitors: We believe that we offer more personalized and specialized service and a great deal more hands-on experience and commitment.

By striving to be our personal best, we help our customers achieve their best!

Snipers Skate Sharpening Routine.


If you have ever had the opportunity to observe your skates being sharpened, you may be interested to know why some Skate Shops sharpen heel-to-toe and some sharpen toe-to-heel. Well, the answer is: it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference; it’s the results that matter.

At my Shop in the Agrena Complex in Spruce Grove, Alberta, I have been following a routine taught to me by the World Leaders in Skate Sharpening Technology—Blademaster—and, I have been using their system ever since. We are Blademaster Trained & Certified.

During a Junior Hockey Showcase held several years ago in our City, I happened to walk down the hallway towards the dressing rooms and observed the Equipment Managers sharpening their players skates. About half did the skates heel-to-toe and the other half, toe-to-heel. According to an Engineering Study, it was reported that the heel-to-toe method helps eliminate micro-fibers and creates a better finish on the blade. If you look at a finished blade with a microscope, it looks like fish scales; these ‘scales’ line up using the heel to toe method.

Now, how many passes along the length of the blade does it take to get a good hollow? Provided that the blade is not too badly damaged eg. deep nicks, it should only take about 4 to 5 slow, even passes to get the desired hollow. If you watch YouTube, you can observe the Pittsburgh Equipment Manager sharpening Sidney Crosby’s skates: he does 5 passes on each blade. Remember, however, that Sid may get his skates re-sharpened in between periods. Sometimes it takes more passes and time to get the desired hollow. Note to the Wise: if you ever observe a skate sharpener doing 15 or more passes on your skates, leave! They don’t know what they are doing.

Also, be careful with new blades and take them to a shop (Snipers) that will take the necessary prep time to get them ready for play. I have seen new skate blade runners where the contour or profile is already ruined due to aggressive cross-grinding to remove the coating on the bottom of the new blades. You don’t want to overheat the blades, either, as it will weaken the temper of the steel and it will be difficult to hold or maintain a good edge.

Lastly, it is just as important to get your skates profiled or contoured/rockered on a regular basis. Over time, the rocker radius will be altered due to the movement of the skate sharpeners method during the sharpening process. I always try and follow the natural contour of the blade as I move the blade across the grinding wheel. New steel is not always of the same radius on each blade; that is why new steel should be profiled prior to skating.


Snipers uses the above CRM6 Custom Radius for profiling. We recently added (December 2019) a Blademaster Triple Head Machine. We have every holder necessary to give you a professional skate sharpening. We offer the Blackstone FBV and the Blademaster BFD as well as conventional hollows. We are at the Agrena in Spruce Grove.

Lastly, if you are a current Skate Shop Owner or Skate Tech., you may wish to join my New Facebook Group: This a a closed Group and is reserved for the above constituency. Your application will be reviewed.

Thanks. Stay Sharp.

Skate Sharpening Tips for Parents and Players.


Yes! Your little skater will need to get their skates sharpened on a regular basis. I see many little tots and beginners slipping and falling on the ice during learn-to-skate programs at the twin rinks where my shop in located. Some parents are unaware of the importance of a good skate sharpening. Think of it this way: your child will get discouraged if they are falling down a lot; they will not enjoy their skating experience. As they progress and get older and more skilled, they will be able to identify and expect a great skate sharpening. This is even more important if they progress to more elite levels of playing and when it is critical to get noticed by those Scouts and College/University recruiters. Who do you think they will notice, more, someone who is confident and great on their edges, or someone who is falling on the ice?

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The best way to determine that best radius of hollow (ROH) is to experiment with several until you find the best one that works for you and/or your child. Never assume that—just because a Big Box Sports Store advertises ‘Professional Skate Sharpening’—they know what they are doing or have been professionally trained; they want you ‘In-the-door’ so that you may purchase their other products. All of the technicians at Snipers Skate Sharpening are Trained and Certified.

So, with that being said, here is the rest of my article:

Before you lace up your skates, make sure you do the following:

  • Look at the edges of your blades. Do you see a reflective shine along the length of the blade? Yes? Then you have lost your edge;
  • Lightly run your fingers or thumb along the inside and outside edges. If you feel any nicks or rough spots, you need to get them sharpened;
  • Place you skates on a flat, level surface and take a look at the shape of your skate blade. If you notice that you have a very short length of blade in contact with this surface, you will probably ( depending on the size of the skate and length of the blade and the height of the skater) have to get them profiled or contoured. Remember, if there is not enough blade-to-ice contact or working radius, it won’t make any difference how deep a hollow you put on your blades, you will still be slipping out of your turns and losing your edges;

We have the best profiling system: the Mark VI Custom Radius Profiling System.


  • If you want the BEST performance out of your blade runners get them profiled/contoured every 10 to 12 sharpenings or every two months; it will be worth the money. Most shops will only charge you $20 to $30 per pair;
  • Bring your skates in early! No one likes to wait too long for a skate sharpening and Snipers Skate Shop @ The Stu Barnes/Grant Fuhr Arenas in Spruce Grove, Alberta will always try and get your skates done, promptly. However, we do not like to rush the sharpening process; it takes a certain amount of quality time to get the best results for you. Also, forget about jumping the queue: we will sharpen them in an emergency, but we will charge you more;
  • Know your personal hollow. There are 20 different hollow grinds and dozens of Profiles/Custom Radii, that can be applied to your blade runners. Experiment and try 2 or 3 different hollows and profiles to determine what works for you. Different brands of skates will have their particular Stock Radius applied to new skate blades and their replacement blades. For example, the LS3 Edge Blades by Bauer has a 10 foot radius or about one and 3/4 inches of working radius. Also, consider different ice surfaces. Softer ice requires less or a shallower hollow; harder ice—more or deeper hollow.
  • Beginners should skate on a shallower hollow until they learn to stop properly eg. 5/8ths. Once they learn to control their edges, they may decide to go with a deeper hollow. Also, you want more blade-to-ice contact or a larger radius on beginners skates. This assists with stability. Little Johnny or Jane can learn all the fancy tricks once they learn the basics.
  • Invest in the best pair of skates you can afford. Less expensive skates sometimes come with sub-quality steel and are difficult to sharpen and they need to be sharpened more often.
  • FEEDBACK, PLEASE! If you try a particular hollow or profile and you don’t tell the Skate Tech how it felt or if you think you want something with a little more edge, please, please tell us. We are not magicians or psychics—although some of us like to think we are. On several occasions, I have had new clients come in and they have no clue about what hollow they are presently using. I will recommend one—say a 9/16 inch to start—and ask them to let me know how they performed. Some will come back and others will assume that—since they didn’t like it—we can’t correct it.
  • Look at the Bottom of the freshly, sharpened blade. Is there a nice, shiny, smooth finish? If you notice perpendicular marks across the width of the blade, this means they were not finished properly. If you can, watch the Skate Tech: are they rushing through the sharpening, doing multiple passes (I mean, 10 or more on each blade?); you need to go elsewhere. It doesn’t take many passes to get a good hollow.
  • One last trick: Balance a coin ( a quarter, loonie or toonie if you are Canadian, eh?) on the freshly sharpened blade—in the middle portion—and see if there is a perfect 90 degree angle.
  • One last, last thing. Ask you skate sharpener if he is a Member of Skate Sharpening University (SSU). If she or he is, then you have found the RIGHT PERSON.
  • If you have any additional questions, please feel free to visit David & Smitty at the Skate Shop and we will be very happy to answer your questions.
  • Thanks for reading and sharing.