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Candians....Where to sharpen skates?

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09-28-2012, 03:21 PM
  #1
ChrisNI
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Candians....Where to sharpen skates?

Hey all,

Looking some advice on where to get my skates sharpened.

Got mine done the other by canadian tire and it was terrible, a young guy did it, didn't seem to know what he was doing and they really are bad!

I've very slight edges from around the middle inside edges to the toe and next to no edges from the middle to the back. I can skate on them but barely and have no confidence to make tight turns or stop without falling!

I've been playing for 12 years and have no problem turning or stopping so I know it's not my ability in case anyone asks.

So basically as far as I can see I have 3 options to sharpen my skates:
Canadian tire
Sport Chek
Source for sports(I think)

So based on the previous sharpen I'm ruling out CT. Looking online there's quite a few horror stories about Sport Chek sharpens so I'm not sure.

Any of you guys have any info or where do you get your skates sharpened?

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09-28-2012, 03:30 PM
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GLG
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Used to get them sharpened at NATIONAL SPORTS but then found TORONTO PRO HOCKEY in Woodbridge, ON and I take'em there ;-)

Source For Sports is a safe bet - I would stay away from Sportchek, Canadian Tire...

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09-28-2012, 04:13 PM
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TieClark
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Where abouts are you? It's all about finding the place you like really... not every Sport Chek is going to be good, not every Canadian Tire is going to be bad (although I would stay away from crappy tire for anything hockey related personally). It depends on who it is sharpening it really.

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09-28-2012, 04:44 PM
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Depends on how you like your skates sharpened.

I played with a guy who'd get his skates sharpened once a year. Played on the rink, outdoors. Only once...

Others got their skates sharpened every couple of games.

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09-28-2012, 05:24 PM
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What city are you in? In general I'd say stay away from big, general purpose sport stores (Canadian Tire, Sport Check, Sport Mart, etc.), and stick to smaller hockey shops. Places with fewer but better trained employees, where there sharpeners are actually sharpening huge numbers of skates all day long, not just one or two skates out of the blue. Even still there will be bad sharpeners at reputable shops, and good sharpeners at otherwise bad shops, it's all about knowing the actual person who is sharpening your skates.

I've had good sharpenings at the Source for Sports that I go to, but I think they're all franchises, and all very different. The one I go to is a serious hockey shop, with nothing but hockey gear, but some of them can be more like Sport Checks.

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09-28-2012, 09:26 PM
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I've had my skates sharpened at SportsChek, Cyclone Taylors, Source for Sports.

They were all pretty well done, but only SportsChek provides FBV. Depends on what you want really.

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09-28-2012, 09:31 PM
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AIREAYE
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Doesn't matter where you go, if you want to get an idea if the sharpener is competent, just ask them a few questions. What are the differences between cuts? How does the process work? What would happen if I do this to the blades? If you want to be really meticulous, make up a plausible scenario of a problem you have and wonder if it's to do with a sharpening.

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09-28-2012, 09:59 PM
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ChrisNI
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Got my money back from CT, going to speak to sportchek tomorrow and see what their guy seems like and if it's no good I'll try source.

Gonna ask a few of the guys in work where they get it done and see where seems to be the best place as above it seems the places differ from area to area as they are franchises.

Thanks though.

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09-28-2012, 10:42 PM
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LateNightOilerFan
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My advice is to forget about retail stores and get them sharpened at the skate shop at the local rink. They may have more restricted hours but usually the staff that work there have a lot of experience and know what they are doing.

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09-28-2012, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LateNightOilerFan View Post
My advice is to forget about retail stores and get them sharpened at the skate shop at the local rink. They may have more restricted hours but usually the staff that work there have a lot of experience and know what they are doing.
lol
ok

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09-28-2012, 10:50 PM
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LateNightOilerFan
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lol
ok
Problem?

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09-28-2012, 11:05 PM
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I hear that one guy from the Mighty Ducks movies was pretty good at it. The old guy, what's his name? I think he might be dead now though...




But seriously, i think it pretty much comes down to locality. Different shops with different staff are going to be more/less competent. Here, Source for Sports spent a ton of money and effort making sure they had the best equipment and very capable people doing the work. When i lived elsewhere, i found a guy at Sportchek who was pretty good, and found most of the people at that location to be fine. But it can vary from store to store and person to person within each store.

I wouldn't ever dare take skates to Canadian Tire for sharpening though. Seriously, that's rolling the dice on whether or not it will even be as good as those goofy ass skate sharpening machines that they used to have in some rinks.

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09-28-2012, 11:12 PM
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I go to Sportchek unless I want to check out what the other places have for sticks. This year it is free, so I'll stick with that.

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09-29-2012, 01:17 AM
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I get mine done at 2 places, Source for Sports and Bladez Skate Shop.

There aren't too many Bladez franchises around the country at the moment so you're probably out of luck there, but if you're in a city they're in check them out. Skate Sharpening is their core business and I've always found their staff to be quite knowledgeable.

Source for Sports locations are often very good as well, they're all independently owned/operated and I find that produces better quality employees who care more about giving you quality service.

I agree that CT sucks. I've only had to use them once and it took me forever to track down an employee that even knew they HAD a skate sharpening machine...

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09-29-2012, 11:16 AM
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Doesn't Canadian Tire have an automatic skate sharpener where the skate goes into some kind of drum and spins around? <shudder>

I found a Source for Sports near me that I really like and have decided to stick with them even though they are a bit out of the way.

As for drilling your sharpener with questions, I'm not sure if I would take that approach. Isn't that like harassing a restaurant's chef about his ingredients before he cooks your food?

And what are you going to do, say "I'm sorry, I don't like your answers, I'm going to go elsewhere." Just give them a shot and decide if you want to go back. It's only 6-7 dollars.

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09-29-2012, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by LateNightOilerFan View Post
Problem?
It's not true. The staff turns over quickly and the only way to get good at sharpening skates is experience.

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09-29-2012, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
It's not true. The staff turns over quickly and the only way to get good at sharpening skates is experience.
What's not true? Definitely some misunderstanding about my post then. To clarify, the skate shop at my local rink has 3 staff - it is a skate sharpening shop, everyone just shortens it to call it "the skate shop". That is why I differentiated it from a retail store - where usually staff turn over quickly and it's a different person sharpening your skates every time.

What I am referring to is a small "hole in the wall" shop where they pretty much exclusively sharpen skates. The 2 men who sharpen the skates have been doing so for the 12 years I've been going there, and they were there long before I even started going in so I think they're pretty experienced. The 3rd staff member will turn over every couple of years and is usually a high school/university student who just tags the skates as they come in and runs the cash so the other 2 can focus on sharpening skates.

Hence why I said I'd rather go in there instead of the regular retail stores - in fact usually when I've gone to the big stores I'm taking the skates to "the skate shop" within a couple of weeks to get it done right.

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09-29-2012, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by LateNightOilerFan View Post
What's not true? Definitely some misunderstanding about my post then. To clarify, the skate shop at my local rink has 3 staff - it is a skate sharpening shop, everyone just shortens it to call it "the skate shop". That is why I differentiated it from a retail store - where usually staff turn over quickly and it's a different person sharpening your skates every time.

What I am referring to is a small "hole in the wall" shop where they pretty much exclusively sharpen skates. The 2 men who sharpen the skates have been doing so for the 12 years I've been going there, and they were there long before I even started going in so I think they're pretty experienced. The 3rd staff member will turn over every couple of years and is usually a high school/university student who just tags the skates as they come in and runs the cash so the other 2 can focus on sharpening skates.

Hence why I said I'd rather go in there instead of the regular retail stores - in fact usually when I've gone to the big stores I'm taking the skates to "the skate shop" within a couple of weeks to get it done right.
Your rink is an exemption then. Most rinks have a small pro shop where you get 2-4 staff members normally working alone or sometimes with 2 at busy times and it's typically high school kids or college/university kids using it as a part time job. It's identical to a sport chek or pro hockey life. I mentioned to stay away from Canadian Tire because they usually don't have a "skate sharpener" but rather a guy that knows how but doesn't do it all that often.

The turn over rate is high because you don't get paid enough to make a living out of working out of a pro shop (or skate shop as you put it) unless you have some kind of interest in the shop (ie. an owner)

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09-29-2012, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
Your rink is an exemption then. Most rinks have a small pro shop where you get 2-4 staff members normally working alone or sometimes with 2 at busy times and it's typically high school kids or college/university kids using it as a part time job. It's identical to a sport chek or pro hockey life. I mentioned to stay away from Canadian Tire because they usually don't have a "skate sharpener" but rather a guy that knows how but doesn't do it all that often.

The turn over rate is high because you don't get paid enough to make a living out of working out of a pro shop (or skate shop as you put it) unless you have some kind of interest in the shop (ie. an owner)
Actually, I've been in quite a few similar to what I described. Too bad it's not like that in your experience. Doesn't mean it's 'not true' or 'lol'.

Anyway, to the OP, I think the consensus overall is to try to find a place where the staff is experienced, no matter where it is, how big it is or what it's called.

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09-29-2012, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TieClark View Post
The turn over rate is high because you don't get paid enough to make a living out of working out of a pro shop (or skate shop as you put it) unless you have some kind of interest in the shop (ie. an owner)
At the handful of rinks in Calgary I've gone to with on-site skate sharpening the pro shop is owned by the guy who does the sharpening (and pretty much everything else). I guess it depends on the rink and the shop but I've always taken it to be the norm.

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09-29-2012, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by LateNightOilerFan View Post
Actually, I've been in quite a few similar to what I described. Too bad it's not like that in your experience. Doesn't mean it's 'not true' or 'lol'.

Anyway, to the OP, I think the consensus overall is to try to find a place where the staff is experienced, no matter where it is, how big it is or what it's called.
Yeah the "Pro Shop" in my rink is family owned (also own the rink) and we only have 4 guys (all over 20) working here all year round. We're all pretty damn good at sharpening skates (me being the best ) except for one guy who just doesn't give a hoot how the skates come out. A good sharpener CARES what his customers think about the job he does and also knows the difference between a half inch cut and a quarter inch cut. Take AIREYE's advice and just ask the sharpener a couple of questions and if he's knowledgable and seems genuine then you know you have a good one.

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09-29-2012, 10:34 PM
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AIREAYE
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Originally Posted by Stickchecked View Post
Doesn't Canadian Tire have an automatic skate sharpener where the skate goes into some kind of drum and spins around? <shudder>

I found a Source for Sports near me that I really like and have decided to stick with them even though they are a bit out of the way.

As for drilling your sharpener with questions, I'm not sure if I would take that approach. Isn't that like harassing a restaurant's chef about his ingredients before he cooks your food?

And what are you going to do, say "I'm sorry, I don't like your answers, I'm going to go elsewhere." Just give them a shot and decide if you want to go back. It's only 6-7 dollars.
Nope, if you present an honest question, you would hope for an honest and knowledgeable answer. You're not harassing the guy, you're just trying to get some sort of first impression before you hand over your skates. Would you think it practical if a potential customer drove around shop to shop to spend 5-10 min asking questions only to fork over $4-10 for one sharpening? Of course not! Ask the questions to get an idea and use that impression to help gauge the quality of their handiwork after.

A good sharpener generally cares about his work and will take the time to explain things to you.

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09-30-2012, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by LateNightOilerFan View Post
Actually, I've been in quite a few similar to what I described. Too bad it's not like that in your experience. Doesn't mean it's 'not true' or 'lol'.

Anyway, to the OP, I think the consensus overall is to try to find a place where the staff is experienced, no matter where it is, how big it is or what it's called.
Perhaps it's not true in Alberta (I'm assuming that's where you're from as an Oiler fan) because the post below you from Calgary said the same thing. In Ontario or more specifically the GTA, the rinks are almost always city owned. The private rinks are corporations. There isn't really any mom and pop rinks with pro shops here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roughneck View Post
At the handful of rinks in Calgary I've gone to with on-site skate sharpening the pro shop is owned by the guy who does the sharpening (and pretty much everything else). I guess it depends on the rink and the shop but I've always taken it to be the norm.
Again like above maybe it is the norm out there. That isn't the case here at all.

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Originally Posted by AIREAYE View Post
A good sharpener generally cares about his work and will take the time to explain things to you.
Definitely... it's embarrassing to hear you did a bad sharpen and you definitely take pride when people continuously come in to you specifically to get their skates done.

I've also never taken offence to people asking questions although I've never really been grilled (which may annoy me). Going in and simply asking a few questions as questions... even if you know the answer wouldn't cause any problems.

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09-30-2012, 06:04 PM
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Perhaps it's not true in Alberta (I'm assuming that's where you're from as an Oiler fan) because the post below you from Calgary said the same thing. In Ontario or more specifically the GTA, the rinks are almost always city owned. The private rinks are corporations. There isn't really any mom and pop rinks with pro shops here.

Again like above maybe it is the norm out there. That isn't the case here at all.
Actually I'm from Nova Scotia (i.e. LateNight - as in Oiler games start at 10-11pm for me). I think you just have to recognize there are different situations across the country. My rink is city-owned, but with a privately owned/managed skate/pro shop.

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09-30-2012, 06:25 PM
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AIREAYE
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Actually I'm from Nova Scotia (i.e. LateNight - as in Oiler games start at 10-11pm for me). I think you just have to recognize there are different situations across the country. My rink is city-owned, but with a privately owned/managed skate/pro shop.
That would be it then. You probably should not expect the same quality once you get into areas like the GTA, like TieClark mentioned.

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