So, you go to a restaurant and order this super expensive cut of meat cooked to an internal temperature of perfect. And the waiter brings it to you and you're like, "Yeah, this is worth one week's pay." Instead of putting the steak in front of you, the waiter beckons you outside and puts your beautiful, perfect steak in the snow.
Still want it? Or like, "Make me a new steak, you psycho! I worked all week to buy that Kobe beef filet mignon!"
That steak is your skates, if you practiced in them for two hours AND LEFT THEM IN YOUR CAR IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER (in a country that has some mighty cold-ass winters).
Here are five other things you really shouldn't do, unless you want to buy skates every year. In which case, please disregard and proceed to our website and buy away.
1. Leave them in your sweaty gear bag
That. Don't do that. Everyone is so paranoid (or proud?) about how badly their gear smells, that everyone is super quick to air out their pads. But skates...? What happens to them when you leave them in your bag?
If you have leather skates, they stay damp. It's important to air them out and treat them outsides like shoes. Wipe 'em down now and again to keep them from breaking down. Even better, give 'em some oil or some polish. If you maintain the leather, your skates will stay in one piece longer.
If you leave your badass gear in with your skates, you're asking for rust so when you go in for that long-overdue maintenance, you might find it hard to undo some screws. Also, rust in your grommets can lead to them falling out. Grommets protect the lace holes from getting super stretched out, maintaining a more static skate fit.
Finally, if you don't air out your skates, they'll rot. The leather will get all black, it'll stink and organisms will grow. Pulling out your insoles will help lots.
Most of this applies to synthetic skates except for the polishing thing, though even synthetic material benefits from a good oiling. And please remember that synthetics will smell faster and worse if not looked after.
2. Never check your trucks
If you're the kind of skater who likes a little bit of loosey goosey action in your trucks, pay special attention.
Cushions get flat, like leaky silicone implants. You get used to the eventual give. But your pivot cup doesn't. Nope. As the cushions get flatter and the truck has more movement, the pivot pin rams that little pivot cup like it's the star of "Cushion Pushin." At best, this makes your trucks feel too loose. At not best, the resulting friction can damage your plates or your truck could just pop out. When you're skating. In the last jam. Of a game. And you're down three points.
3. Don't inspect your skates, ever
So a screw came loose and maybe fell off.
Okay, so there's a bit of a crack on your plate.
Weird that your toe stop keeps slipping out, but cool, cuz you just ram it back in.
Doesn't matter because if you don't look, there's no problem, right? Which is what a lot of people do and wind up scrambling to replace things like PLATES or BOOTS.
Small problems often have cheap and easy solutions. Pivot cups are like $2 at most. Plates are not $2 at least. Well, they're at least $2, but the point is that they're way more.
4. Fail to act
Maybe you do inspect your skates here and there, and maybe you do notice flat cushions, missing screws, are aware that the reason your toe stop is falling out is because the toe stop insert is stripped.
But, it's more fun to just talk about these issues rather than solve them. This will ruin your skates like in the previous point, but it'll happen right in front of your face. It's almost worse because you'll be aware of the degradation and when it does happen, you'll be like, DERP! At least in the previous point, there's the whole ignorance is bliss thing...?
5. Get creative!
That one sounds positive, but you have to be really careful when getting too creative when maintaining your skates. Use parts that fit and that are designed for your skates/plates/wheels. For example, the nuts on the screws that hold your plates to your boots are important. These little jerks fall off quietly and can result in your plate lifting from your boot. If you replace the nut with any old nut that always falls off, you're always going to have plate lifting, which will result in plate bending and warping.
Sometimes, you need a quick fix because a drone isn't going to drop the part you need in your hands at an away game. Temporary fixes are just that: TEMPORARY. For your own safety and for the lifespan of the boot, don't let temporary fixes become permanent.
All of this may come off as sounding like your skates are made of glass, when they're clearly not. The point here is that you've put a substantial amount of money into your skates. Think about your favourite leather shoes. You've broken them in, they go with everything, you wish you could wear them to weddings; you'd never treat them the way many people treat their skates. With some basic upkeep and a little diligence, your skates can last a really long time.