EVERETT — Bryce Peters placed his pair of hockey skates on the counter at Shooters Hockey Center.
The 14-year-old member of the Everett Youth Hockey Jr. Silvertips was preparing for an evening game just two blocks north at Xfinity Arena. The ice hockey pro shop at 2726 Lombard Ave. is his favorite spot to get his skates sharpened.
“I’ve been to other places and this is the best,” he said. “I also like the way (the store) is set up. It’s nice here.”
Bryce needs his skates sharpened about twice a week, said his mom, Cammy Peters. The yearly sharpening pass they bought at Shooters Hockey Center is well used and appreciated.
“They have the best prices as far as skate sharpening,” she said. “And they have a variety of items. If you need something for a game and are at the arena, they have it.”
Those are the kind of remarks that shop owner Peter Robinson, 29, likes to hear. He said Shooters Hockey Center has built a solid reputation for providing the best skate sharpening around.
“I would put our sharpening reputation on the line against anybody,” Robinson said. “I’m 100 percent confident we would come out on top in a blind test every time.”
Robinson started playing hockey at age 7. He’s currently part of an adult recreation hockey league. His three employees are also invested in hockey and have either played or play the sport and care about sharpening skates well, Robinson said.
Not everything has gone exactly as Robinson, a 2010 graduate of Eastern Washington University, imagined when he first opened his shop in October 2012.
The business originally included a training facility that offered a small synthetic rink and a RapidShot training system that automatically passed pucks and measured shooting accuracy, speed and reaction time. The training side of the business had a few strong individual supporters, Robinson said. But it didn’t receive enough support from the local youth hockey players and leagues.
“Kids would use the facility but only when it was free or discounted so it wasn’t a good money-making model,” he said.
The training aspects of his business were shut down in August when the shop moved to the opposite side the building that Robinson has owned since July 2012. All of the training equipment was broken down, then sold or kept in storage pending sale. He leases the other half of the building as a CrossFit location.
The store’s small sales floor offers a variety of hockey equipment including sticks, gloves, pads and helmets. A Blackstone triple head sharpening machine is positioned behind the counter. Sharpening costs $7.
An annual pass is available for $70. Shooters Hockey Center also offers custom and repair work on skates. Robinson plans to build out the backroom of his store to carry a larger inventory. He’d like to expand services in the future by offering equipment cleaning.
“We cater more to the higher-end player,” Robinson said. “Those are the players that are going to take advantage of the fact we sharpen skates well and we do custom profiling and repair work.”
Hunter Campbell, 13, has been playing hockey for the past decade. Shooters Hockey Center is near his Everett home. That’s especially convenient since the Sno-King Hockey Jr. Thunderbirds A1 Elite team member gets his skates sharpened once a week.
“I like the Flat Bottom V (sharpening),” he said. “I like to get my skates sharpened here because I think it’s better than other places I’ve tried.”
Domenic Spino of Edmonds prefers to have his skates sharpened at Shooters Hockey Center. He plays for the Everett Youth Hockey Midget Bruins and changed the sharpening method of his skates at the recommendation of Shooters employee and youth hockey coach, Kenny Emery.
“It feels much better to skate on,” said Spino, 16. “I’ve been to places that do a horrible job (sharpening skates). He does a really good job.”
For more information about Shooters Hockey Center call 425-512-9633 or visit www.shootershockeycenter.com.