There are many benefits of converting your old hockey skates to roller skates. For one thing, your used ice-hockey boots will likely be worked in, so they will make for comfortable roller skates. Second, buying a roller blade chassis, wheel and bearing kit is usually less expensive than buying a finished pair of roller skates, and third, putting together your own roller skates allows you to customise them; you can pick your favourite colours for wheels and the chassis, and select the bearings and wheel size based on your needs and budget.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Hockey skates
- Eight roller skate wheels and bearings
- Two roller skate chassis
- Screw driver
- Tape measure
- Drill and drill bits
Remove the inside liner of the ice hockey boot and place it in the vice with the bottom end (blade end) of the boot facing up towards you.
Remove the skate blade from the boot plate with a screw driver and wrench as needed. The blades of different makes and models of skates will be attached to the skate plate in different ways, so it is best to have a variety of screw drivers and wrenches handy. If the skate blade was attached to the boot with a rivet gun you can try and wedge a flathead screw driver between the boot plate and the chassis to pry it free.
Measure and mark two middle points of the width of the boot plate; one at the toe of the boot and the other at the heel. Draw a line down the middle of the boot plate.
Place the roller skate chassis onto the boot plate, aligning it with the marked line. With the drill and a small drill bit pre-drill two holes through the available holes of the rollerblade chassis into the boot plate (about 1/2-inch deep); drill one hole at the top of the toe-end of the chassis and one hole at the heel end.
Place washers on the chassis over the pre-drilled holes and thread two of the t-nuts through the washers, the chassis and the boot plate through the pre-drilled holes. Carefully remove the boot from the vice and turn it around so you can tighten the bolts of the nuts on the inside of the base of the boot. Repeat this process until you have threaded the remainder of the available chassis holes, then reinsert the insole of the boot.
Attach and tighten all wheels and bearings to the chassis, following the instructions included in the wheel and/or bearing kit. You will likely need a wrench and screwdriver for this.
Tips and warnings
- Have a good look at the bottom of your ice hockey skates before you begin to remove the blade. Think through the process and be sure you have all of the equipment you will need to successfully complete the conversion before you start. Oil the bearings after you have fastened them onto the wheels to encourage free rotation.
- Converting your ice hockey skates to roller skates can be difficult and time consuming, and different makes of hockey skates will have different boot plates (thickness etc.) and different blade attachments, which makes each conversion process unique. If you are not confident in your ability to make the switch yourself, bring your skates in to a local hockey or sports store to have a professional do it.
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