Ice skating can be done in different ways in different sports. Naturally, different ways and sports require different ice skates, and today, you will learn the differences between hockey and speed skates.
The difference between hockey and speed skates is that hockey skates are meant for ice hockey that values protection, agility, and swift direction changes, whereas speed skates are made for high speed. Speed skates have longer blades, heavier weights, and a higher price than hockey skates.
There are so many differences between the ice skates because the needed features are different for their respective sport. Take a quick look at where both skates are designed for before going deeper into the subject;
- Fast stops
- Quick movement changes
Now, stick with me to learn more, and I’ll explain everything more in-depth!
Differences Between Hockey and Speed Skates
Four main differences separate hockey and speed skates: blade, boot, weight, and price. I’ll start with the most significant one, the blade.
The blade is the biggest and most noticeable difference between hockey skates and speed skates. Speed skates have much longer and sturdier blades than one in a hockey skate, and there’s a reason for it: speed.
As the name suggests, speed skates are made solely for speed, so the blade is very long as it helps to achieve great speeds. Generally, short track blades are 12 to 18 long, whereas long track blades are 16 to 22 inches. The difference between short and long track blades is that short track blades are designed for control and turning, whereas long blades are for linear speed.
When you compare the blade length to the usual hockey blade length, that is the size of the sole, meaning if you have a 9.5 size hockey skate, the blade length will be approximately 9.5 inches; it’s considerably longer.
The boot on both hockey and speed skates vary due to the different nature of the sports. Let’s start with the speed skate.
So, speed skate boots are stiffer and less flexible than hockey skates because of the maneuver in the corners, for example, where the speed skaters need to learn to gain traction. Speed skates aren’t as high as hockey skates, either.
Hockey skates are indeed higher than speed skates and very hard to protect from hockey pucks, sticks, and other players. Other than that, the skate boots are quite similar and often made from carbon fiber.
When it comes to the weight, hockey skates are lighter because ice hockey requires swift movement changes, agility, and explosive speed and offers a long continuous speed built up over time.
Speed skates are heavier as the metal blade is so much bigger, and the sports nature doesn’t require as drastic explosive speed, although it’s important. However, once you get the speed in speed skating, it will continue as long as the race is done, whereas, in hockey, it can end at any time.
Last but not least, the price is widely different when comparing hockey and speed skates. Almost always, speed skates are much more expensive than hockey skates.
For example, you can get hockey skates for less than $50, with the usual price between $100 to $250 and a high range of $500 or even more. In comparison, ice speed skates cost +$300 with a high end of $500 to $1000.
The biggest difference is that most hockey skates cost under $300, whereas almost all speed skates cost over $300, so speed skating is more expensive if you look just at the skates. However, hockey demands much more than just skates, making it more expensive as a sport.
For a quick view of the differences, look at the data table below.
|Feature||Hockey Skates||Speed Skates|
Can You Interchange Hockey Skates and Speed Skates?
If you’re a fan of ice skating sports, you might wonder whether you can use hockey skates for speed skating or vice versa. Indeed both skates are used on ice, yet the sports are drastically different. Anyways, can you interchange hockey and speed skates?
In general, you can’t use hockey skates for speed skating or speed skates for ice hockey. In theory, you can speed skate with ice hockey skates if you’re starting; however, advancing in the sport will be impossible without proper skates. Ice hockey with speed skates can’t be done because of other players.
Imagine playing hockey with long-bladed speed skates. You can’t change positions that quickly; you would collide with other people, and your skates would be in the way, among other things that make it impossible.
Speed skating with hockey skates isn’t recommended either because you can’t reach the same speed as speed skates.
In reference, NHL players can reach speeds over 20mph (32kph). However, the speed pales when compared to over 30mph (48kph) that speed skaters have been documented to reach.
That said, you should get respective skates for the sport you wish to skate in.
Is Speed Skating Good for Hockey?
In ice hockey, speed is highly appreciated because you can move faster than your opponents, giving you better-scoring chances. Ice skating doesen’t get faster than speed skating, so would speed skaters benefit from their speed in ice hockey?
Speed skating is great for hockey because accelerating works with the same principle, giving the other hockey players an advantage. Fast hockey players can get past the defense more easily, although other factors such as skill and quickness are needed too.
Still, you can’t deny that fast hockey players like Patrick Kane, Kasperi Kapanen, or Adrian Kempe don’t have an advantage when applying speed on the hockey rink.
Check out the video to give you an idea of what speed and its benefit look like in ice hockey.
Are Fast Skaters Fast Runners?
Skating and running aren’t the same, yet there are similarities. When thinking logically, you would imagine that fast skaters are fast runners, yet is this the case?
Fast skaters are usually fast runners because both running and skating are based on the force you directly into the ground and the speed you can do it. Fast skaters apply great force on the ice quickly, so they are likely to do the same off the ice when running as well.
According to Mass Hockey, most hockey players aren’t training skating speed off the ice by running, which would be extremely effective. I can confirm this as when I played hockey years back; running wasn’t usually part of the training, at least to skate faster.
I remember a lot of jogging and endurance training; however, fast sprints and overall fast running move the needle in faster skating.
All in all, ice hockey, speed skating, and their respective ice skates are widely different, with slight differences, both being ice sports.