Learn to Skate program

About the program

2 MBLearn to skate brochure – print friendly version

Learn basic skating skills in a fun, recreational environment. CSA skating or hockey approved helmets are mandatory. Children will not be allowed on the ice without the proper helmet.

Children are placed in groups of approximately 10 children with similar skating abilities. When registering, it is important to let us know your child’s ability level. At the first class, skating ability will be assessed and children may be moved from one group to another.

Skating skills are taught through both large and small group games, relays and activities.

During the first few lessons, your child may spend more time sitting on the ice or a bench, than skating. We teach them to stand up with strong ankles, how to find center of balance, how to fall, and how to get up again. This is a normal progression and we encourage you to be patient with your new skater as they learn new skills.

We encourage parents to sit in the heated gallery or in the stands, not along the boards. It is important we have the skater’s full attention during the entire lesson.
At the last two lessons, your child will be assessed on all the skills learned. Candidates who complete all of the required skills will receive a badge. If your child does not receive a badge, it just means your child has some skills to continue working on. It is quite common for children to need more than one session to complete all the skills required for each badge level.

The learn to skate program has ended for spring 2017.

The new schedule for fall 2017/winter 2018 will be available in the Guelph Community Guide in August at City of Guelph facilities and library locations.


Most inexpensive beginner outfits come with the blades mounted and are available from local department stores. The quality varies considerably with this line of skate, so the
different brands should be examined with care. It is important to ensure the skate is the correct size and supports the ankles well. As well, newly purchased skates must be sharpened before you are able to skate on them.

Lace-up skates are best in order to fully support the ankle and foot bed. Please avoid the full plastic shelled skates, as they do not provide adequate support for the ankle.

Never buy skates that are too big just so they will last another season.

Lacing skates

  • Skates should be laced comfortably over the toe and front of the foot but snugly over the ankles.
  • Laces should be hooked securely with sufficient tension to permit one finger down at the top of the back of the boot.
  • Laces should be long enough to be tied in a double bow and tucked in.
  • Please ensure your child’s skates are laced properly. Parents may be requested to retie laces if not tied properly.
  • Practice lacing your child’s skates before they start lessons.

Fit of Boots

Boots should be fitted with one pair of socks only.

  • There should be some room for movement of toes, but the ankle, instep and heel must be firmly supported.
  • The tongue should be sufficiently wide so that it will stay in place.
  • The front opening of the boot should be sufficiently wide to pull the laces tight.

Care of skates

Skate guards can be worn when walking to and from the ice. Permanent damage can be done to a blade by walking on concrete without guards.

After each wearing, blades should be dried with a cloth and stored without the guards.
This is to prevent the blades from rusting.

While removing skates, make sure that they are sufficiently unlaced so that the back of the boot will not break down.


CSA Approved helmets for skating or hockey are mandatory for this program. Bicycle helmets are not allowed. Your child will not be allowed on the ice without a proper fitting CSA approved hockey or skating helmet.

It is recommended that all young and/or beginner skaters wear helmets for their protection whenever they are skating. Your child’s brain sits as delicately inside the skull as an egg’s yolk inside its shell. Nature does protect the brain well, but children do unpredictable things quickly. Like an egg, once the damage is done, a brain can never be unscrambled.

Skating Apparel

  • Warm pants and a winter jacket are recommended to stay warm and comfortable while skating in the arenas. Even though it’s warm outside, it’s very cold in the arena.
  • Skaters may wear gloves or mitts.
  • Hockey gloves are not permitted.
  • Long scarves should not be worn on the ice as they can be dangerous.