I can’t even begin to think how many pairs of skates we’ve gone through in the last 12 years. I do know that THANKFULLY, Spider-Man’s feet eventually stopped growing and we went from 2 pair a year to one!
Sticks…those are another story altogether as for some reason, Spidey breaks them like twigs. Then again, he’s also broken two panes of glass in rinks in the last few years…I’m super glad I’ve not been on the hook for those!
While we’re celebrating Back to School this week…it’s also time to celebrate Back to Hockey! Tryouts have begun for many age groups and many more will begin over the next few days and lasting weeks until the final teams are picked.
For these dedicated hockey players, it’s time to see how all of the Summer training is going to pay off! After that, it’s time for games, practices, tournaments, friendships…cold rinks and hot tea.
This will likely be my last year of sitting in the rink next to women who in the course of a season, become friends. I will miss it…but I promise to keep the emotions to a dull roar as best as I can (which we all know is the same as asking me not to yell at a game!)
I plan on making the most of this year…my goal, to try my best not to let out that crazy noise when my son takes a big hit! His goals, have a much higher likelihood of being reached!
So, before I start getting all emotional (who knew this sport would grow on me like this)…I’ve a few Tips and Tricks for Back to Hockey…starting with SKATES!
I had a chat with my favourite Sport Chek employee (ALRIGHT…whatever, my son works at Sport Chek)…ANYWAY, as I was saying, I had a chat with Noah from the Bayer’s Lake Sport Chek and I asked a few questions about skate sizing…what you need to know and how it works.
Essentially, skates come in varying prices and styles. The price is determined by the type of material used and whether they’re “this seasons” or “last seasons” technology! Each brand carries a few different styles and often a decision for sizing is based on whether you need it to be wider at the toe or narrower at the heel and essentially, you try on a few pairs until you find the right skate for you. In our house, we’ve gone through many brand names until we finally found the one that worked the best…and once you find it…you tend not to stray.
“When you’re sizing kids for skates, do you leave a little growing room,” I asked? I was thinking like sneakers…remembering how I’d make sure there was a little room to grow INTO the sneaker so I wasn’t replacing them every single time I turned around as kid’s feet grow rapidly. I was wondering how he could tell where the kid’s toes are…when the toe of a skate is hard and you can’t exactly press in your thumb to see!
“Definitely not,” he said going on to explain that a skate really needs to fit for “NOW” as a foot moving around in a skate too much can cause a great amount of discomfort, blisters and unhappiness on the part of the hockey player.
(OK…THAT might be the reason Spidey didn’t like skating when he first started out.)
ANYWAY…I went on to explain that parents want to purchase on the bigger side because of kids continuously growing and wallets continuously shrinking…and that’s when he explained the Junior Exchange Program!
Here’s how it works…if your child grows out of their skates within the first year, bring in the skates and your receipt to Sport Chek and you’ll receive 50% off the purchase of a new pair. If it’s two years, again, with the receipt and the skates, you’ll get 25% off the cost of the next pair.
SO…keep those receipts in a safe place!
Once you find the skate that fits for your foot width and length (and all of the other things your Sport Chek employee will discuss with you)…they’re then moulded in the oven to gain an even better fit to your foot! This will again stop extra movement inside of the skate and create a “custom” skate just right for you. Keep this in mind when you’re in a hurry…it takes a few minutes to heat them in the oven, shape them to your foot and get them perfect…on top of that, you can’t wear them for 24 hours.
I asked Noah about skate sharpening and laces…and was told it’s all about personal preference. For example…he likes waxed laces, buys them a little shorter than recommended and has a particular sharpness he prefers to help with gliding on the ice. Who knew!
He did share a few Tips and Tricks:
- Waxed laces are often the preference of hockey players as they stay tied and allow the skate to be tied a little tighter…however, apparently “Dad’s” don’t like waxed laces because they hurt their hands tying them up!
- Remove the skate insoles at the end of a practice or game so the skate blades and screws don’t rust.
- Wear the right socks for your skates…there are lots of types to choose from and find what works best for you. Some socks even prevent a skate blade from cutting through your skin!
- DON’T wrap your laces around your skate…it cuts off circulation and the ankle needs to be able to move a little.
- The tongue of the skate should always be tucked into the shin pad so you can block a shot on the lower part of your leg without hitting skin…and getting hurt.
- Keep a towel in your hockey bag to wipe off the blades. Also, many blade covers are often fabric with terry cloth inside…they work to help dry the blade and prevent rusting. OH…but don’t forget to take them off before you hit the ice. I’ve seen my share of kids falling flat on their face because they forgot to take their blade protectors off!
A lot of skates now come with removable blades. It’s great for tournaments to have a spare pair so you’re not searching for a skate sharpener in a town you’re completely unfamiliar with (been there, done that!) Even better, having removable blades is perfect for having a second set for recreational use…like pond hockey or, if you live in Halifax, for skating on the Oval. There were times between games and recreational skating, that I was running his skates up to Sport Chek every few days to be sharpened! (Oh…and a little tip from me, buy one of their skate sharpening cards!)
I’m super excited about Back to Hockey…getting to spend a little time with a great group of kids and their wonderful parents…a trip or two away…some great competition and watching my son play a sport he absolutely loves! (I’m going to miss this…but that’s a story for another day!)
Head into Sport Chek for all of your Back to Hockey shopping…ask questions, they have all of the answers and are there to help find exactly what you need.
GIVEAWAY FROM SPORT CHEK:
AND…to help with your Back to Hockey costs, Sport Chek is giving away a $150 gift card to one of the readers of Curtains are Open!
To enter for your chance to win, fill out the information below.
Disclosure: I received special perks in exchange for this blog post. As always, the opinions on this blog are my own.