After the US women won Olympic gold in ice hockey in 1998, I decided that it was time for me to lace up a pair of ice hockey skates. Then, I played around with sticks and pucks once in a while, and soon, I realized that all my years of ice dancing made it fun and easy for me to teach hockey players to skate and improve their power skating techniques.
I also found that skating in ice hockey skates was fun! When I went to public skating sessions, it seemed that I made skating friends easier when I skated around in my ice hockey skates. Also, I enjoyed the exercise since my figure skating skills made it easy for me to skate around the rink with so much power.
Ice hockey players who have participated in figure skating may have better edging technique, which is critical for starting, stopping, and turning effectively. They also come into hockey programs with good backward skating technique. The transition from figure skates to hockey skates is relatively easy.
My son, Joel is a professional ice show skater, but he also has played hockey since he was a little kid. I noticed when Joel was a young player, that he could outskate most players. In fact, thanks to figure skating, he fit right in with the other boys who played hockey for a long time because he is such a good figure skater. Hockey helped Joel’s figure skating too.
A friend of mine, Curtis Socha, skated as a professional ice show skater and figure skating coach, and was also an ice hockey player. When I first came up with the idea of learning how to skate in ice hockey skates, Curtis told me to keep my hockey blades sharp and to ask whoever who sharpened my hockey blades to rocker them a bit. That helped quite a bit since the rockered blades felt more like figure skating blades. Curtis’s advice made my first days of skating in ice hockey skates more enjoyable.
Certain famous and elite figure skaters have played hockey. Max Aaron, who won the US men’s title in 2013, began playing hockey when he was only four years old. When he was nine years old, he began to figure skate so he could improve his hockey skating skills. Another famous elite figure skater who played hockey is four-time Canadian and World figure skating champion Kurt Browning.
I challenge all figure skaters to try to skate in ice hockey skates. You will find that skating in ice hockey skates can really be fun and may add something to your “skating life!”
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