Just Gliding Around
As a recreational player, I didn't pay much attention to my skate blades in my first few years of hockey. Like many of my teammates, I'd sharpen them only once I've realized lost my edge several times during a game. Worst yet, I'd just give it a few passes with a stone or whatever sharpening tool my teammates had available to lend me. This meant that I'd really only sharpen my skates every couple months, sometimes 3 or 4. Some of my teammates would go an entire calendar year without a trip to the grinding stone.
One summer, I started watching some Youtube videos on power skating and tried out a number of drills. I realized how much of a limitation my dull edges were, and began to sharpen more frequently so I can improve my skating. I quickly realized in order to maximize my performance, I needed to sharpen my blades every 2 or 3 skates at most. This became a time consuming process weekly or biweekly to the shop. I had better things to do with my time than hang out at the pro shop (plus, it can be very dangerous for my wallet).
When my stock steel wore down, the skate shop recommended that I look at upgrading my steel, he had a number of brands available and talked up how much better the steel was. He gave me the analogy of buying a sports car with all season tires, sure it works, but it would be a lot better if you had racing tires. I went home and did some research on brands like Step, Tydan, Byonic, Bladetech, and others. It seemed like they all had great reviews from prior customers online, and prided themselves on harder steel and better finishes. Byonic in particular had a wide range of customizable options like colours and custom engraving.
My Experience with Upgraded Steel
I gave some red Byonic blades a try, mostly because they matched my Bauer Vapor skates, but I really like that they came pre-profiled, had a 9/10 forward pitch for stability and control, as well as precision laser cutting. I honestly couldn't tell just by looking at them, but the steel was much harder than my stock LS steel. After 3 skates, my edges were still very good and did not need sharpening. This would translate to tons of time not having to go to the proshop. I felt more confident on my edges too.
Why Upgrade Your Steel?
Upgrading your steel is not just for pros and serious hockey players. Better steel gives you improved edges for more sessions, and saves you time and money at the skate sharpener. If you play hockey regularly, I highly recommend that you upgrade your steel. There are several great brands. I chose Byonic because of the profiles they come in, 9/10 forward pitch, great colour options, and because provide concrete specs about their steel hardness and smoothness rather than just using marketing jargon.
While we do recommend Byonic steel, this article was not written for, nor paid for by Byonic Steel. From time to time, Conway+Banks will partner with other fantastic brands in the hockey community to bring you quality products at substantial savings. Byonic Steel has partnered us to provide our customers with a discount not available anywhere else. Simply use discount code CB20 at bbyonic.com checkout to save 20% off any in-stock steel.