Category Archives: skates

The Bad Wheel Giveth Life to the Voice Within

When you lose an edge, you gain a dreadful feeling that lurks inside you, that little presence that tells you not to turn too hard, too fast, too sharp.  Don’t wheel too quickly when the play breaks the other way, don’t spin quite as tight to lose a defender down low.  For if you do, your wheel may be trusty or it may not.  If it fails you though, the results won’t be pretty.

When I was a kid in high school and needed a sharpen on an off-ice day, I’d drag my skates out of my hockey bag and throw in my gym bag before going to bed at night and head down to Spokes ‘n Pedals during my lunch period at school to get ’em done up.  A buck a sharpen, and later, when it became the goto place for good sharpens, it was a buck and a bit I think.

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Filed under High School, skates

Tying Skates in the Morning

As kids, we often had games and practices early in the morning.  As parents, we often took our kids to games and practices early in the morning.  For some reason, I always found tying up skates early in the morning was really hard on the hands.  It feels harder on the skin for some reason.  Wax laces only make the problem worse.

Could just be I’m a little nutz but I swear this is true – lacing up in the morning is hard on the hands.

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When Time Isn’t Your Friend

The lace you’ve been meaning to change is bound to break when you are in the biggest rush.  It’s the truest of Murphy’s Laws applied to hockey.

Tonight, I was in a grand rush to get to my 9:00 game in Elmira because, as luck would have it, my brief after-dinner, pre-game nap turned into a real doozy and I woke up at exactly 8:38 PM.  Now, Elmira is about a twenty minute drive from my place on a good night but this was the eve of what all the weather-porn guys were calling the storm of the century (3rd one in last four years I think) so the roads were a little bit slick with a few flurries coming down.

However, it was only 8:38, not 8:48 or 8:58 so I had a shot.  I grabbed my gear quickly, threw the coat on and was out the door in the car by 8:42.  I turned the car off at 9:02 in the parking lot and ran into the Elmira rec centre, my loudest-hockey-bag-on-wheels-in-the-universe informing the entire township of my arrival.

Now, as those at the rink who know me know, I can get dressed pretty quick, and even quicker under pressure and this was one of those situations.  I’m guessing I was only two or three minutes from sitting down to lacing up.

And then it broke.  The one lace that I’d been tightening gingerly for several weeks, the wax lace (which means it’s made of the most unmalleable material ever created, and made more so on a cold skate that has been stored in the garage the last three days), snapped about one inch beyond the second-last islet.  Beautiful.  Cuss words came out, and give the time crunch I was in no mood for a full lace replace so I took the approach of trying to re-work this lace back on one side to free up another few inches on the broken side.  Easy right?

Not.  This was a cold skate, itself not the most malleable thing on earth, with a cold wax lace tightened in.  There are Celtic churches from the dark ages that are less rugged than this configuration.  It took another two to three minutes to fix this lace situation, a real downer since this is the best hour of this person’s life each week and lost time here is time truly wasted in life.

However, I made it to the ice with only about seven minutes gone in the first and all was well.   The lace held, my sleep did wonders for my energy level and I got a breakaway in the dying seconds with the game tied.  The game was ours to win if I could score, and score I did – one second after the buzzer went.

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Filed under skates, WOHL

Sharp Skates and Less Dinner

The last couple of games in the W have been grim.  I needed a skate sharpen badly and have had too much dinner too close to game time.   Accordingly, I got the skates sharpened up this weekend and am going to be real careful to eat lightly at dinner in the hopes of not having to start looking to the end of the game by the third shift.

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Filed under Food, skates

A Lost Edge

Is there a worse feeling than having to play a game with a really bad wheel, an edge so totally gone that you have to turn one way all night?  You’d feel like those poor sailors on the Bismark’s final voyage.

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Filed under equipment, skates

Lange Skates

Do you remember those suckers?  Ski boots with blades.  They were all the rage for awhile and were used by many pros.  Never had a set myself.  But Jean Beliveau did.

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Scott Niedermayer Hasn’t Won The Golden Boot

The Stanley Cup, the Memorial Cup, the World Junior Championship, The Olympics…..and the Golden Boot.  That is an impressive list of hockey trophies to be sure, and their order of listing does not imply anything with respect to relative importance.    Some famous gents have had the good fortune of being a part of teams that have won several of these.  Scott Niedermayer comes to mind.   

Having said that, Neidermayer’s name isn’t on The Golden Boot which perhaps does suggest that while those teams he was apart of were pretty good, and their victories hard fought, winning the Golden Boot is just a little beyond the others.  A little harder to win.  A little more unique to drink out of than some old tin cup.

This year’s winning team in the battle for the Golden Boot was the Blue Team.   And I, not Niedermayer, was on that team.  A team I’ll always be proud to say I was a part of.  It may not have been 16 wins over 2 months.  (In fact, it was only 2 wins and 1 loss between 9:00 am Saturday morning and 2:00 pm Saturday afternoon a few weekends back).    It may not have been a full-contact war of attrition among finely tuned athletes. (In fact, it was just a bunch of old pluggers eating Warmington’s good eats and drinks between games).  It may not have made front-page news in National Newspapers.  (In fact, the only mention in the media at all was….um…well, never mind).  What is was instead, was just about the finest hockey ever played.

So when Niedermayer is ready to take stock of what’s he really accomplished, and comes to realize that he came up one trophy short, he’ll always be welcome to throw his name on to the spare list for the W and see if he can work his way into a regular roster spot.  If he does, and if he is lucky enough some Saturday morning in March some day in the future to win it all, then and only then will he be able to truly revel in his accomplishments.  Until then, he’s just another guy who won some of the great trophies in the game, without winning perhaps the most important one of them all…The Golden Boot.

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Filed under Championships, NHL'ers, oldtimers, skates, Trophies, Winning

Great Moments in Breaking In New Skates

Buy a new pair of skates today and the store will often put them in a little oven that heats them and then get you to try them on for ten minutes or so with the goal being to have the skates mold to your feet.   It all sounds very impressive but I’m willing to guess its just marketing razzle-dazzle.   After all, considering new skates are going to have your sweaty feet in them for hundreds and perhaps thousands of hours, wouldn’t they mold to your feet anyway after the first few hours?   But I digress.

When I was in grade 9 (I think), my dad bought me brand new skates.  More than skates really.  Super-Tacks.   Say it like you mean it ‘cuz that’s a wicked name for any product.  Anyway, the guys who sold them to me, Fontaine’s Sport and Cycle in Peterborough (and I think they are still there), suggested that when I got home, I fill the bathtub up with about a foot of very warm water, lace up the new blades and go stand in it for about…hmmm…ten minutes or so.  Then, take ’em off and let ’em dry out real well and voila, they should be molded to my feet.

I loved those skates and wore them for years and years.  They were the last pair I ever broke in using a bathtub.

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