Razor sharp or dull, it's personal preference
Skate Sharpening is a matter of personal preference. Some NHL players sharpen their skates between each period while some sharpen them only a few times per season. If you are fussy about your blades you should find a reliable skate sharpener since it's really a special skill. Not everybody who sharpens skates is necessarily good at it. You need somebody who understands your specific needs.
The more experience you have skating, the more you will know when your skates are dull or sharp. Skates are sharpened by a rotating disk that is about the same width as your blades. The skate is clamped in and the disk grinds away a small part of the blade leaving a hollow groove.
Ask your sharpener about the differences between a shallow and deep cut. In general, a shallower cut will glide easier and faster on the ice than a deep cut. It also allows you to feel the blade edges better, which are used for stopping. A shallow cut is recommended for beginners, especially for learning to stop.
- A shallow cut won't let you turn as sharply. For more experienced skaters, particularly defensemen who are often making quick changes in direction, it's essential to have sharp edges as they need to be able to turn at sharp angles without having their blades give out from under them.
- A deep cut, however, won't allow you to glide as freely as a shallow cut and you will use more energy in skating.
- Goaltenders usually like their skates to be quite dull so they can glide from side to side across the ice easier.
Remember that blades are made of lightweight steel and they do often nick and sometimes even crack completely. If this happens, replace the blade immediately or you could injure yourself.