Clothing and Equipment


    106No matter what the weather is outside, it’s always cool inside the rink. Young skaters should dress for warmth: a sweater and gloves will make practicing more comfortable and enjoyable. Skaters may like to have an outer shell or jacket that they can take off once they’re warmed up.

    Hair should be tied back and off the face. Bobby pins, however, are a hazard, as they can fall onto the ice and cause an accident. Skaters should use clips instead and ensure they are securely fastened.


    Fit: Skates should fit snugly. Skates that are too large impair balance and control, which makes figure skating skills more difficult and can lead to accidents and injuries.

    Sharpening: Skates should be sharpened regularly. How often they need sharpening depends on how much they are used. Coaches can provide advice and can show skaters (and parents!) how to check the condition of the blades. Figure skates must be sharpened differently from hockey skates, and should be taken only to a sharpener who is experienced at working with figure blades. Coaches can recommend a qualified specialist. It is never advisable to sharpen figure skates in a coin-operated machine. New skates need to be sharpened. Do not depend on the blades being sharp from the factory.

    Guards: Plastic skate guards should be used to protect blades when skaters are walking to or from the ice surface. After skating, skate guards (which trap moisture) should be removed promptly, and the blades dried carefully to prevent rust. Soft covers made of absorbent fabric are useful for protecting the edges of the blades, but should be removed when the skates are stored for any length of time.

    Never walk on unprotected blades unless there is rubber flooring.


    All CanSkate participants must wear a snug-fitting CSA-approved hockey helmet.