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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Diversity Your Services Mix.


If you want to remain in business, you will have to diversify the services that you will offer your customers. For example, if you offer skate sharpening only, you will need to consider offering a complimentary service such as Profiling. I tell my customers that profiling their skates is as important as finding the correct radius of hollow—they compliment each other.

Also, selecting the most profitable Retail items to stock in your shop is tricky: Market Trends are shifting year to year. What is hot one year, is cold the next year.

Here is a call to every Member of SSU: we need to work together to identify what is selling in our shops, what are the profit margins, do we have a reliable distributor that will deliver our orders on time; what do our customers want?

Howie’s Hockey Tape is a big seller in my shop. I only stock LS2 & LS3 Edge Blades in my shop due to the ubiquity of the Bauer Brand. I am specializing in Bauer products which leads to another opportunity to retrofit a customers older skates with the Tuuk Quikrelease Holders ( something I haven’t done yet, but I will consider it over the summer).

Lastly, the new Sparx Home Sharpener is set to launch in April. Their YouTube Channel has over 90,000 views, so we need to understand that they will be our competition. What do we offer our customers that will bring them back to our Shops? Do we have something unique that the other Stores/Shops don’t  ie, do we have products that are out of the mainstream? Do we need to focus on online sales or affiliate marketing eg. Why do our customers like our service? What do they dislike about our Service? How do we keep our customers loyal or is there such a thing?

I would consider diversifying your Services & Marketing Mix to stay current and viable into the future. I always appreciate your comments and your input.

David Carlson/Karlsson


On Behalf of SSU.

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

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.

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; Advertising, Financial Management and keep up-to-date on the newest equipment and technology.

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.

Our 298 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!