Learning to skate can be a rewarding and fun experience, and having the right equipment is important to both your safety and ability to learn. The resources below are designed to help you make informed decisions to get the most out of the lessons.
When choosing Ice Skates it's important to think about what future discipline you are planing on. Predominantly we see two different types of skates used by the students- Figure Skates and Hockey Skates.
When shopping for Skates, it is highly recommended you go to a store that specializes in this type of sport. There you will get the best advice and the best fitting service. Often the staff are highly trained in the different types of disciplines and the needs of the skater. We have a list of recommended stores at the bottom of the page.
Having a good quality and good fitting skate is the first step in making this journey both rewarding and enjoyable.
Types of Skates
Longer blade than hockey skates with picks at the front and tail to the rear. Should have good ankle support with no creases. Come in a variety of styles and colours. Comfortable and snug fit is important. Price point varies widely with manufacturer and blade quality. Wide selection of both new and used available at most pro stores.
Curved blade at either end, no picks. Hard shell. Should give good ankle support, and fit comfortably. Can be a little tricky to start to learn on. Come in a variety of styles and prices. Wide selection of both new and used at most pro stores.
Plastic Molded Skates
Avoid plastic molded children skates. They lack the support and ability to adjust the fit around the ankle. They are also less flexible and can become stiff and cold on the ice. Blades can be of lower quality and can dull quickly.
Shopping and Trying on Skates
Although most sporting goods stores sell skating equipment, it is recommended that you use a company that specializes in Ice skating or Hockey disciplines. The following are tips that should be used in selection and fit of Ice Skates.
Avoid buying larger sizes so that the skater can "grow into it". Poor fitting equipment is uncomfortable and can hinder progress and frustrate the skater.
Avoid plastic molded skates. They do not give the ankle support needed
Leather boots are preferred for figure skates over other materials.
Blades ideally should be screwed onto the boot rather than riveted to allow for adjustment if necessary. The blade should feel centred under the foot and the foot should not fall or tilt to one side.
Make sure the boots do not have wrinkles, especially when buying used skates around the ankle area. Winkles are a sign of a weak area that may not give the support needed.
Wear only one pair of tight fitting socks or tights (the same as you intend to use during the lesson) when trying on skates.
When trying on the skate, stand up and slide your foot forward so your toes touch the front of the boot but are not cramped. Make sure your weight is evenly distributed between both feet. Slightly bend your knees and place a finger between the back of the skate and your heel. The gap should be no wider than the width of your finger.
With the skate laces done up (looser over the toes and snug on the ankle and instep), the skates should fit snugly around the ankle and heel with some movement for toes.
Walk around the the skates on (guards on the blades). They should feel comfortable.
Blade Sharpening and care
Sharp skates will ensure that the skater can maintain directional stability along with stopping and balance control. Blades will dull over time and require resharpening every 25-30 hours of use. The following tips should also be followed to prolong the life of the blade and boot.
Always wear protective "hard" guards when wearing skates off the ice (when walking to and from the dressing area).
When removing Ice Skates after use, remove the guards and wipe the blades and sole plates with a cloth or towel before installing soft blade covers for storage. Leaving hard guards on and not wiping the blades will cause them to rust.
Air out boots after use.
Check the condition of your skates before and after each use, including screws, condition of the blade and boot material.
CSA approved hockey helmets are mandatory for ALL CanSkate and PreCanSkate lessons.
Please ensure that the helmet has the CSA label.
Helmets in Canada do not have an expiry date. You may find a HECC sticker (shown below) that has an expiry date on it. HECC only applies to the USA and is not recognized in Canada, only the CSA is. CSA takes the position that the life span of a Hockey Helmet is not easy to determine and so the CSA does not give an expiry date. Even so, the HECC date may be a good indication of the expected life span but it is not limiting.
It is not recommended that you use pre-owned helmets unless you can be certain that the helmet has not been damaged or dropped. Damage to helmets may not be detectable to the naked eye and might severely compromise the integrity of the helmet. New Helmets are relatively inexpensive to purchase.
Helmets may or may not come with full face guards. It is advisable (especially for young children) to use them as it can protect their face if they fall forward. As skaters become more confident, the guard can be removed.
The Helmet should be a snug fit but not too tight. Some helmets have adjustable sizing or foam padding.
The strap should be adjusted so that it is comfortable but not too loose that the Helmet can move
Personal stickers should not be attached to the helmet. The glue on some stickers has been known to weaken and degrade the Helmet.
FOR USA ONLY
905 845 1362
1226 White Oaks Blvd, Oakville ON. L6H 2B9
Endzone Sports Exchange
66 Main St. N. Georgetown
-they have new and lots of used equipment for both hockey skates and figure, helpful staff and skate sharpening
As We Grow
20 Dawson Rd. Unit #3 Orangeville
-they have used items as well for skating and some clothing, some new clothing as well.
Sport Chek Orangeville
150 First St. Unit #142 (Orangeville Mall)
-all new equipment with skate sharpening
Sport Chek Stone Road Mall Guelph as well 519-824-4352
Play It Again Sports
218 Silvercreek Pwky Guelph (Hanlon Plaza)
-used equipment and it appears the sharpen skates as well.
Choice of clothing is important for both comfort and mobility. The age and experience level of the skater will impact the choice of clothing required. Younger skaters and those new to skating may find they are moving less and require more layers. This will also give some protection from falling. As skaters progress, they will find they need less layers as they are moving more. Either way, layering is key to allow skaters to adjust as necessary.
Snow suits, although warm and padded, can be too restrictive for children, especially when trying to get themselves up off the ice.
Waterproof pants are recommended for initial or young skaters.
Mitten or gloves are recommended. Consideration to waterproof or snow mittens for new skaters is advised.
Do not wear scarfs or clothing with long loose fabric which can get caught.
Long underwear, tights, leggings under track pants or fleece lined leggings can all help. Winter Jackets are less of an issue on the ice but should still allow full and free movement.
Extra pair of socks/gloves for after skating is a good idea as feet and hands can sweat and/or get cold/wet.