How often should I sharpen my skates? That’s a question I have gotten from a lot of folks over the years. There really isn’t a correct answer as everyone is different even the pros. For example, Jake Allen will get his skates sharpened twice a week with swapping out steel every two weeks. Then Deven Dubynik will get his skates sharpened before every game. Robin Lehner will get his skates sharpened once a year. Dana Heinz talks on an old YouTube video on even how each one of the Penguins is different in sharpening skates (and profiles).
A good rule of thumb I told people all the years working at a hockey store, is that if you’re a serious player, sharpen your skates for every 6 – 10 hours of on the ice. That way you maintain your edges, and any major gashes, knicks, or anything else that might cause you to lose an edge, is taken care of on a regular basis. If you’re a more casual player and don’t mind not having fresh edges, then perhaps once a month or every other month might be fine too.
The tricky part is the outdoor season. Outdoor hockey while is great, is also very hard on blades. The ice is rougher and could have dangerous cracks in. It also could be much harder or softer than indoor ice depending on the day. The other variable to outdoor and sharpening is how do you get to your skating spot? Do you walk on a rubberized surface like indoor rinks? Do you walk on wood planks or is it snow-packed? These could all lead to potentially dulling your blades more quickly. If you just play outside, perhaps then once or twice a season would be fine. If you’re going back and forth, perhaps once a week or after every outdoor skate just to make sure the elements didn’t mess up your blades for a game.
Maintaining your steel is very important! Skate sharpening helps maintain sharpness. It also removes knicked edges, gashes and rust (all things that can potentially cause you to lose an edge). A great general rule that has helped lots of players (outside the pros) is to get them sharpened every 6-10 hours of on ice!