Before you spend a lot of money for a new pair of ice hockey skates, first consider your level of play among two basic categories: the recreational skater and the amateur hockey player. Chances are, you'll fall somewhere within these two groups and finding the right skate for you can save you plenty.
1.) The recreational skater, one who enjoys ice skating as an occasional pass-time, wouldn't necessarily require a high-end hockey skate like those designed for amateur league play. On the other hand, the same skater should not compromise comfort and safety merely to save a few dollars. One could easily find a suitable pair of hockey skates from a major manufacturer without spending a lot of money and still get a good skate. The BAUER Vapor VI is a good example for those wanting a quality skate without draining their wallet. All name brand hockey skates are highly engineered and available in a wide price range to fit almost any budget.
2.) The amateur hockey player is usually involved in organized sports such as school hockey teams or private leagues. This level of play requires skating long periods of time several days per week. Typically, an amateur hockey player requires a hockey skate designed for heavy use and structured to maintain a high level of comfort and durability. A mid-level skate such as CCM Super Tacks or the CCM Vector series is a likely choice. If a more high-end skate is preferable, the BAUER XXX or GRAF 707 nears the top out the list of some of the best skates available.
The NHL is probably the most effective venue hockey skate manufacturers have to market their retail products to the general public. When kids see the skates their favorite pro players are wearing, they want a pair just like them. However, professional hockey players have their skates custom made by major skate manufacturers so don't expect to find an exact replica of their skates on the pro shop shelf or any web site you may run across. What you will find is a retail version of the same skate. Even though they are not the exact skates, they are a quality product engineered by the same manufacturers.
Weather you are a recreational skater or an advanced league hockey player, you can easily find a pair of ice hockey skates suited for your specific needs without overspending. While shopping, keep this in mind. Even the biggest name brand manufacturers will have a line of skates to fit almost any budget. So, look closely, ask a lot of questions and save money.