|THE PROFILE (Part 1)|
|Skate sharpening technology has come a long way since the old tube skate era. It used to be, in days gone by, that if you felt a little less blade was needed on the ice, your local skate sharpener could grind a little off the front and back of the skate and called it rockering. It was the "thing" back then and supposedly led to greater prowess on the ice. Starts, stops and turns seemed greatly improved.
Although we know better today - This actually inhibits the ability for 'full length strides' and reduces a skater's turning capabilities while shortening the effective blade length substantially. Many shops continue this practice of grinding off the toe & tail of the blade with little regard to the negative effects on the skaters performance or potential and are more concerned in keeping a customer returning and happy.
A bunch of years ago, one could walk into a sports shop, say in Montreal, and ask that his skates be sharpened like Larry Robinson. The operator would pull a template (labeled "# 19") off the wall, lay it across his flatbed sharpener, marry it with the clamp holding the skate, then proceed to grind away. The skate would ONLY be ground where the #19 template allowed. Thus was born the "PROFILE". Similar templates with other numbers were hanging on the wall. The "#10" was a popular one in Montreal, #27 in Toronto. And what youngster wouldn't want his skates sharpened just like "The Flower" or the captain of the Leafs?
More recently, the computer chip has moved into this business of profiling. Precise grinding can be requested for defense and forward positions or what works best for your skating style. The technology has changed, some players may think the cool thing to do is have your skates profiled; however the more serious players take advantage of this advancement in technology and capitalize on the ice.
And just what is a 'profile' ? What do the numbers mean? This type of profiling with computer driven sharpening equipment (CAG, and Eriksson) have abilities to create a gliding surface in the middle of the skate blade. This surface can be shortened or lengthened and can be moved forward or aft from the center point of the blade. The numbers that represent these combinations are normally measured in millimeters (mm), such as: 25/50 or 40/60. The second number represents the length of the glide surface, while the first number identifying the amount that is in forward of the center point. Players who are forwards typically want a more forward-tilted stance often favour a 35/50 profile. Conversely a 25/50 sharpening is geared more to defencemen wanting a straight-up stance.
Let's explore: Be aware that all hockey skates come from the factory with a profile manufactured on the blades. The glide surface is in the middle of the blade; the length of that area is about 17% of the total length of the blade. On a size 8 skate, that is very close to a 25/50 profile. So, is it worth it to have skates profiled?
Consider that new skates come pre-profiled from the factory, although quality control & tolerances involved with mass production vary greatly, and the repeated non-precise sharpening (done by hand) will accumulate, the blade profiles will change. Not all players have the same style of skating or skating skills or posture. Having a custom profile placed on your blades may enhance your skating. Maintaining a factory or a customized profile is easy with today's computer chip technology and will effectively counter-act the repetitive or excess grindings from the unskilled or over zealous sharpening attendants.
|Click the Skate for a detailed look into Profiling (Part 2)|