Learn to Skate: Pre-CanSkate and CanSkate Programs
Skate Canada has developed its new CANSkate program based on Sport Canada’s long term athlete development (LTAD) principles. It provides a tested and proven new curriculum and delivery methods that guarantee skater success in developing stronger basic skills and developing them faster. The new program also includes specific skills that pertain to hockey, ringette, speed skating and figure skating. The result is a dynamic new program that prepares all skaters for virtually every ice sport.
All programs taught by professional coaches who are specially trained and certified through the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP).
What is CANSkate?
CANSkate is a dynamic learn-to-skate program that focuses on fun, participation and basic skill development. Based on Sport Canada’s long term athlete development (LTAD) principles, CANSkate centers on physical literacy and the fundamental skills needed to take part in any ice sport or to skate as a recreational activity.
What will you learn?
A complete series of balance, control and agility skills taught in six stages of learning that pertain to hockey, ringette, speed skating and figure skating as well as general recreational skating. CANSkate uses nationally-tested and proven curriculum and delivery methods that guarantee skater success in developing stronger basic skills and developing them faster.
What can you expect?
Action, movement and fun! Lessons are given in a group format with a coaches and Program Assistants providing instruction. Skaters progress at their own rate and coaches make sessions active using teaching aids, upbeat music and a wide variety of activities that create a motivational environment and promote learning. Badges, ribbons and other incentives are used to benchmark skaters’ progress and reward effort and participation.
What do you need to participate?
All you need are skates, a CSA-approved hockey helmet, long pants, mittens, warm sweater or jacket. Dress in layers – it will get warm!
What type of helmet is needed for my skater?
A hockey helmet should fit snug to prevent any shifting and maximize protection. Maker sure the chinstrap can be adjusted so it gently makes contact when fastened. For an adjustable helmet, open it to the largest setting and gradually begin to downsize the helmet until a comfortably snug fit is achieved. The helmet should rest on the head so that the rim is one finger width above the eyebrow and making contact with the top of your head. Although most helmets are lined with protective foam, some helmets will feel better than others. Try on different brands of helmets for fit and comfort. All CSA-Approved Helmets have a sticker indicating their certification.
Why only a hockey helmet?
Hockey helmets are designed to help protect against head injuries occurring on ice, whether from a fall or collision. A bicycle helmet, for example, is designed to protect against head injuries should a fall occur while riding a bicycle. It is important to ensure that when a skater is on the ice, they are protected with equipment designed for their sport or activity.
Are used hockey helmets acceptable?
Hockey helmets and face protectors sold in Canada must meet safety standards set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). If the CSA sticker is not present, throw the product away. Hockey helmets must have labeling with the date of manufacture and have a chin strap. CSA takes the position that the life span of a helmet is not easy to determine and so CSA does not give expiry dates for hockey helmets. CSA advocates that "consumers should exercise good judgement to the suitability of a hockey helmet for play. Helmets that are cracked, have loose fitting or missing liner pieces, or that have been subjected to a severe blow should be replaced. For a hockey helmet to function effectively, it must be in very good working order and worn properly in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions."
Can a parent sign a waiver absolving the club from any liability and allow their child to participate without a helmet?
No. The requirement to wear a helmet is a Skate Canada Policy and all clubs and members must abide by our policies. Therefore, in order to participate in the CanSkate program all skaters who have not achieved Stage 5 in the CanSkate program or who lack good balance and control must wear a CSA-Approved hockey helmet on the ice.
Why has up to and including Stage 5 been selected as the benchmark for helmet use?
Skaters who lack good control/balance when skating forward, backward and have difficulty stopping, as well as maneuvering around obstacles on the ice are at a higher risk of being unable to control a fall, regardless of their age. The CanSkate program has been developed to introduce basic skating skills to beginners in a safe and sequential manner. The learning progressions leading to and including in Stage 5 allow skaters to gain the necessary skills (balance, agility and control) required to safely participate on the ice. While it may be likely that many Stage 5 skaters can skate reasonably well, ice surfaces can be very unpredictable and there is always a risk of falling, no matter what stage a skater is at. CanSkaters participate in a group environment with other skaters on the ice of different levels who may fall and cause other skaters to fall.
What other tips could you provide regarding prevention of falls and head injury?
There are several ways to avoid head injury, in addition to wearing a helmet. The following are some basic guidelines:
-Use quality equipment - skates with good support, proper fit, laced correctly and sharpened regularly help the skater maintain control on the ice - therefore less chance of falling
-Dress appropriately - no scarves, overly bulky snowsuits, or hair in the face as this may restrict movement and vision.
How can I identify a hockey helmet that is CSA-Approved? Where will the logo appear on the hockey helmet?
The CSA-Approved logo will be found on the back of the hockey helmet affixed to the outer shell of the helmet. For more information about CSA standards visit
How do you sign up?
To register, you must Login and register as a club member.
Choose the REGISTRATION PAGE and under QUICK NAVAGATION choose CANSKATE. Select your CanSkate or Pre-CanSkate program and continue following the registration process.
- Registrations can only be made through the website Registration page. Spaces are limited.
- You may register for just the Fall Session, just the Winter Session, or for BOTH the Fall and Winter Session