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 For CanSkate and PreCanSkate skaters, your child will require the following:

  1. CSA Approved hockey Helmet (see helmet guidelines below)
  2. Correctly fitted Figure or Hockey Skates.  No Plastic or Adjustable Skates - these will hinder your child's success and development. How do I choose the right skates?
  3. Proper clothing - layers are best to allow for ease of movement.  
    • Long Johns or Jogging Pants and waterproof pants
    • Thermal shirt or long sleeved t-shirt and warm sweater/vest/jacket for the top.  
  4. Gloves or Mittens 

Choosing the Right Helmet

CSA approved hockey helmets are mandatory for ALL CanSkate and PreCanSkate skaters

  • The helmet fit should be snug
  • Both the strap and helmet should be adjustable
  • Long hair should be tied back:
    • avoid high ponytails...this interferes with the proper fit
    • avoid hair pins or hair clips as they may rub and hurt your child's head
    • braids or cloth hairbands are suggested to keep hair out of your child's face
  • Face Masks/Cages are recommended for first time skaters to protect the teeth and face in case of falls.  They can be removed as the skater becomes more comfortable on the ice and able to control falling

Bike, Ski and other types of helmet are NOT acceptable. Skaters will be prohibited from joining classes until proper protective gear is worn.

Choosing the Right Skates

Wearing the proper skates is very important for your child's success.  Skaters in CanSkate or Pre-CanSkate can wear either hockey style skates or figure skates. Here are some tips for choosing the right skates.

  • Choose lace up skates
    • choose skates that have laces, not clips or dials to tighten.  Skates with laces allow for the skate to be better adjusted to fit the child's growing foot. 
  • Avoid Adjustable Skates
    • We DO NOT recommend that you purchase adjustable skates.  While this may seem like a cost saving option for a young child that is growing rapidly, it is really detrimental to their progress.  As you enlarge these type of skates the blade becomes too short for the boot and causes difficulty for the skater to maintain proper balance and technique. Try picking up used skates instead to save on costs.
  • Snug Fit
    • skates should fit snug -  your child should be able to wiggle their toes but their heel shouldn't slide around. As a quick test, get your child to scrunch their toes as far forward as they can, if you can fit more than one finger behind their heel - the skate is TOO BIG
  • Tying Skates
    • Skates should be tied snugly to avoid the foot from sliding around. A snug fit ensures stability, balance, and avoids injury to the ankles. Also, avoid wrapping laces around the ankle - this restricts mobility

Questions about skates? Email us at or call Lesley at 289-318-0321.

How does the CanSkate program work?

The CanSkate program is built into stages; each stage builds on the skills of the previous stage and makes sure those skills are mastered, before we teach the next level up.

What are progressions? If you think about anything you’ve ever learned how to do, you’ve probably done it in steps. We learn to crawl, then walk, then run. We learned how to drive in parking lots, slow and steady first. And just like those, in order for an athlete to succeed, we start small, and build greatness.

For example, to do a hockey side stop, you first need to be able to make snow. From there, you learn 2 foot snowplows, then 1 foot, then stopping to the side and eventually work up to a side stop. If you watch your children in a CanSkate program, they go through all of these progressions, and you’ll also see that as the previous skill is mastered, learning the next skill gets quicker and quicker every time.

Hockey Players: There’s a misconception that hockey players will  learn and perfect skating skills during hockey practice while they’re learning how to shoot, stick handle and pass, but that’s really not the case.

Some of the best hockey skaters in the world started in a CanSkate or Learn to Skate program, and it’s now common for NHL teams to work with professional Skate Canada Coaches to improve basic skating skills for their athletes. Because to be a great hockey player, you need to be a great skater too.


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