As hockey players, we put so much attention into what equipment we use. With the sticks, you want to make sure you have the right curve, the right flex, and the right grip. With the skates, Puck Drawn Hockey likes to think about them in the same way.
However, the blade often doesn’t receive enough attention even though it should be just as important as our skates and the stick.
In today’s discussion, we are going to take an in-depth look at skate profiling, which allows us to optimize our performance on the ice regardless of what ice conditions that we have.
What is Skate Profiling?
Skate profiling allows us to change the radius of the blade. In other words, you’re able to alter how much of your hockey blade comes into contact with the ice at any time, and during any situation of play.
The more ice contact you have with your blade, the better stability that you’re going to have, which is going to equal the better control that you have.
Think about it as your grip on a stick. If you’re not holding your stick very tightly, you don’t have perfect control over it.
On the contrary, if you hold it nice and tightly and you have a secure grip, you’re able to control your stick much better and are almost ready to treat it as an extension of your body. That’s precisely what profiling allows you to do with your skates.
There are different skate profiles that you can have with skate profiling, from a single radius – which is a single point of the blade being in contact to the ice, to something that most players don’t even know existed – a quad radius.
With this profile, four separate points of the blade are in constant contact with the ice regardless of what we’re doing.
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Skate Profiling vs. Skate Sharpening
How skate profiling differs from skate sharpening? When sharpening a blade, we alter the hollow depending on ice conditions or the player’s preference.
On the other hand, profiling means altering the radius of the entire blade to change the contact point from the ice.
We’re able to adapt this the same as sharpening your skates to different kinds of players. Depending on how you play, how you perform, and what type of skater you use, you’re able to find a radius that’s going to help you excel on the ice.
Advantages of Skate Profiling
To discuss the benefits of profiling, first, we need to break down the sections of a hockey blade or runner. Starting from the toe end, the first section is referred to as the Acceleration zone.
From there, it’s the Mobility zone, next is the Speed, and lastly, the heel is the Stability zone. Changing the length of any one of these zones will have a massive impact on the feel and performance of a runner to the player.
The most significant advantage of skate profiling is that you’re able to adapt or increase the contact points between the blade and the ice. Traditionally, if you have quite a deep sharpen, the blade digs into the ice, which results in you having to put more effort into every stride, using more energy, and getting fatigued quicker on the ice.
Profiling increases the contact points of the ice, gives you better control, better mobility, better acceleration, which means that you’re then able to reduce the depth of your sharpening.
In other words, you’re able to go for something a lot more shallow, which means you’re going to be using less energy to produce the same power, same speed, preventing you from getting fatigued quickly on the ice, and helping you to perform better while using less energy.
The best way to understand skate profiling is to think about a race car on a race track. Depending on what carbon it is, what conditions it’s driving in, you change the tires to fit the circumstances.
It’s precisely the same as your blades in profiling. Depending on your side of play and the conditions and the way that you like to move on the ice, you profile your blades accordingly.
Our blades and our skates are the most crucial piece of equipment we have on the ice. Thus, doing anything and everything you can to give yourself an upper hand over your opponent and helping you excel on the ice is essential.
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How Big a Difference Skate Profiling Makes?
Next, let’s find out exactly how big a difference profiling makes. In terms of the different profiles we tried on the ice today, option five was definitely going to be my favorite.
The reason for that was because when I was on the ice. It feels like you basically have blood skates in terms of the way it feels when you’re sliding forward. It doesn’t feel like the blade is digging into the ice at all, so there are a lot of places I could sit on the surface, which means skating and gliding in a straight line with high speed is effortless.
But then, when it came time for me to get into my type turns, quick starts, and stops, the blade would bite the ice, which was the most bizarre feeling I’ve ever had.
This feeling is like you have no edge, but you have plenty of edge when you need it, which is super amazing. That’s really the only way I can explain the changes, which I could feel immediately, and it’s so incredible in the ice.
It doesn’t matter what level you play out, if you’re playing beer league, if you’re a beginner or if you’re a pro, I mean a lot of pros will probably have this facility available to them depending on what country they’re playing but, you should be trying to go to a shop to get yourself a skate profiling.
If you can’t, you need to ask that shop to make that service available to you because it’s almost an injustice. It’s like going somewhere where they can only offer one type of sharpening for a blade.
That’s not right, and you need to have this option because it doesn’t matter what level you play, every player should have the right tools to be able to play to the best of their ability, and that’s exactly what profiling your blade is going to let you do.
After I went through the different five options of blade profiling, the guys at the pro shop had me put on my original blades, which are the ones that have been on my skates since I got them. The result is, they felt terrible. It felt like Puck Drawn Hockey was skating on a long piece of 2×4 attached to the bottom of my blade.
It’s so awful that I couldn’t really turn properly. It felt unstable, unbalanced, uncomfortable in every sense of the world. Believe it or not, once you go skate profiling, you never go back. Seriously, it’s phenomenal!