Sparx Skate Sharpener: a cut above

Sparx Skate Sharpener: a cut above

Sparx hockey has recently blown up in the hockey world. During their journey that started in 2013, Sparx has made an immense impact on the hockey community as a whole.

Sparx designed and produce the first every at home automated skate sharpener. Before Sparx player either had to buy their own manual skate sharpener or pay each time to get their skates sharpened by a “professional” at a nearby rink or sports store.

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Sparx Sharpener Pro

This sad state of affairs continued to challenge hockey players and their performance. It was almost impossible to avoid bad sharpens, insane rates, timely situations and inconsistency that might show during performance. That of course was before this creation, giving a good quality sharpen that is consistent, done in a few minutes, and is as easy as a push of a button.

This process is all completed by the use of a simple key pad with arrows and symbols to direct the machine. You first load you skate into the sharpener, close the guards, move the grinding ring to the contact point (optional), and press the play button to sharpen your skate. The key pad also allows you to select how many passes you want, which is based off how damaged or dull your skate is. It also shows you the life left in the grinding ring.

Sparx did not disappoint in creating a very high quality machine that matched all of my standards and expectations. The machine uses small rings that are designed to take a persistence hollow out of a skate blade, these are called grinding rings.

A hollow is defined as the concave groove ground into the bottom surface of the skate blade; the ‘radius of hollow,’ refers to the depth of that groove (definition source Sparx offers two types of grinding rings, the traditional radius ring and the fire ring. The radius ring is going to offer the traditional hollow where the fire ring, which is supposed to offer the new and improved hollow, produces a flat bottom hollow that provides improved glide while still maintaining the grip and bite in the ice. The grinding rings sharpen about 60 pairs of skates, doing four passes on each skate or eight total.

Fire Rings

They currently offer a 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, and 3/4 inch ring. This measurement just refers to the amount of depth that the hollow is cut resulting in the grip of bite into the ice. For example having a 3/4 inch hollow would offer the most bite because it gives more space in between the ice and the center of the blade making the edges sharper. The same thing applies for a 3/8 inch cut, there is less room between the ice resulting in a more dull grip. The standard cut is typically 1/2 inch but some player prefer more or less bite when they skate.

Maintaining the machine is quite easy, there is an air filter and tray that needs to be cleans every once in a while, I like to clean them both about halfway between each grinding ring. The rings themselves cost approximately $60.00 a piece no matter if it is a radius or fire ring. You can also go the other route and purchase the starter pack which comes with two radius rings of your choosing and one fire ring of your choosing.

If you think about it, buying this machine saves you a lot of money. The hockey season for Cotter last year started in early December and the playoffs end at the beginning of April.

I personally go through about one sharpen a week. Giving some leeway for games or a nicked edge it is safe to say that you have five full months of a sharpens per week. That adds up to about 20 sharpens a season per player. If you have to take them somewhere, using the same amount of sharpens per season, at $3 a sharpen that means you are spending about $60 just during the season. Using the Sparx, in theory, if you sharpen your skates every week during the season you should be able to get about 3 seasons worth of sharpens for $60 versus one season. This machine, in time, should pay for it’s self just in the amount of money you will save doing your own skate sharpenings. You also have the satisfaction of knowing you are going to have a consistent sharpen each time you hit the ice.

The Essential Bundle

The machine that I am currently using is the first generation and costed around $1,200 dollars. You might be thinking that is a lot of money to spend on a skate sharpener. The reason it was $1,200 was because it was included in a package deal. The package included the sharpener, alignment tool, alignment ring, two honing edges, two leather strops, and three sharpening rings.

After about a year an a half of use this machine has been tried and tested, proving the quality and performance. Before when I went to get my skates sharpened it not only costed a lot of money but they were never done correctly. They would always be uneven and dull. Now I have a high quality sharpen every time I hit the ice, the automated sharpen consistency and perfection is very hard to beat.

I have done over ten pairs of skates in a row, one after another and had no issues or imperfections. The machine is very simple and easy to use as well as to clean and maintain. My sister, who was in 6th grade when I taught her, is able to sharpen skates due to the easily accessible controls. If you ever do have an issue like a blade being too tall, the machine will stop and allow you to adjust it before restarting and sharpening.

Right now over 25 NHL teams use the Sparx sharpener.

“Consistency is such a huge thing when you’re a player like me who relies so much on their skating. The convenience of having the Sparx Sharpener is great and you know exactly what you are going to get every time,” Jeff Petry of the Montreal Canadians said.

Patrick Kane of the Chicago BlackHawks is also very impressed with the Sparx sharpener and gave a testimonial:

“It’s frustrating as a player when you have to worry about your skates, your edges and how they’re sharpened. You want to be able to have the sharpening you want, and the Sparx gives you a perfect sharpening every time. It’s like having a professional equipment manager right in your house sharpening you skates whenever you need them done,” Kane said.

This machine has been tried and test. It has great quality, can save you money and offers a sharpening product like no other, what else can you want from a skate sharpener. It is safe to say that this machine and company has changed the skate sharpening game forever and will solve the most dreaded inconvenience of hockey players every day and give them a consistent edge to perfect their craft.