What radius of hollow do NHL players use?
A good rule of thumb when first learning how to play hockey is to keep your hollow radius at or around ½”. This size allows for a good deal of harmony between how deeply the blade cuts into the ice and how fast you can actually get going.
It's a 3-millimeter-wide piece of steel hollowed out down the middle in an inverted U to create two edges. An NHL player uses both edges on both skates, like a skier shifting weight from side to side during turns.
The most common skate sharpening radius we see for ice hockey players is a 1/2″ inch or 5/8″ inch cut.
The most common radius of hollow cuts are ½” and 5/8” for skate sharpening shops because it provides the best balance between edge depth and glide speed.
|Wayne Gretzky - 1/2"||Sidney Crosby - 9/16"|
|Joe Sakic - 5/8"||Evgeni Malkin - 11/16"|
|Chris Pronger - 7/8"||Jordan Staal - 5/8"|
|Mark Messier - 1"||Sergei Gonchar - 1-1/4"|
|Paul Coffey - 1" to 2"||Alex Ovechkin - 1/2"|
Around 3:44, he mentions that Crosby used to prefer a deeper hollow, but now uses a 1/2" hollow.
The majority of pros use something with a shallower hollow, but preference does widely vary. I used a 5/8ths hollow, but as I got older and heavier, I switched to the less sharp 3/4ths.
Skate Sharpening Hollow Chart.
|Hollow Measurement||Hollow Description|
|7/16″||1/2″ is More Common|
|1/2″||Most Common for Skaters and Goalies|
|9/16″||Very Popular for Goalies|
|5/8″||Popular for Skaters|
Speedskate blades should be sharpened every 2-6 hours of use. They are “flat ground” with a 90 degree angle, whereas hockey and figure skates are “hollow ground”. The blades must be sharpened by hand, and will be ruined if sharpened like hockey skates.
Glide and bite are determined by the amount of blade cutting into the ice. 1/2 inch is our standard hollow, a 3/8 would provide more bite, a 5/8 would provide less bite.
What skate hollow should I get?
There is no wrong or right answer to which hollow you should use, the most important thing is that you feel comfortable on your skates and they are performing the way you want them to. A few general things to look at when choosing a hollow is the weight of the skater and the condition of the ice surface.
The main variable to consider when first picking a radius to try is weight. As a general rule, the heavier the skater, the larger the radius needed. An extremely light skater can tolerate a very small radius (producing a deep hollow with lots of edge) because they do not have much weight to bear on the ice.
A 5/8" radius will take care of most recreational skaters. Most rink managers shoot for an ice temperature of approximately 25 degrees Fahrenheit. A temperature of 17 to 23 degrees is considered "hard hockey ice", 25 to 26 degrees is considered good figure skate ice.
5/8 (Shallow) grind is what most figure skaters skate on. This gives you a good flowing edge and has little friction on the ice.
The normal range for this is ⅜” to ¾”, although higher or lower hollows are occasionally seen. Typically, skate shops will do 1/2”, 5/8”, or 7/16” hollow as a default if they aren't given any specific instructions.
Longer skating strides = wider strides.
Because your skate blade is not perpendicular to the angle of force, this propels you forward, in the same way a sailboat tacks crosswind much faster than the wind. At the end of each stride, you are pushing backward (hip extension) because you're moving past the ice.
In the NHL, however, the most common cut is much shallower, between 5/8” and 3/4″. Players in the NHL also get their skate profiles customized 100% of the time. Obviously they are very persnickety about their skates, as this is their livelihood.
The Sparx Sharpener will not contour the profile of the blade. But, unlike traditional manual sharpening which alters the profile after 15-20 sharpenings, the Sparx Sharpener will hold the skate profile throughout the life of the steel thanks to the consistent RPM, Speed, and Pressure applied by our Grinding Rings.
Forwards generally prefer smaller radius than defense men of the same weight. Goalies generally prefer very large radius so that they can "kick out" without catching an edge. Figure: Most beginner and instructional skaters can skate on a 1/2" radius. A 5/8" radius will take care of most recreational skaters.
The CCM Vector V08 has become the most popular Helmet in the NHL with over a quarter of players using this CCM helmet. The players wearing this helmet include: Connor Mcdavid , Brayden Point, Erik Karlsson, Brock Boeser and Alex Ovechkin.
What do most NHL players get their skates sharpened at?
You can get your skates sharpened anywhere from 1/8th of an inch to one inch. 1/8th would be the sharpest, and one inch would be the least sharp. The majority of pros use something with a shallower hollow, but preference does widely vary.
HOCKEY SKATES Thickness: 3 mm for players, 5 mm for goalies (0.12 inches, 0.2 inches). Length: 6 to 9 inches. Description: The blades are curved, or "rockered," on both ends to help the skater make quick turns.