CanSkate and Pre-CanSkate


CanSkate is a learn-to-skate program for beginners of all ages that teaches fundamental movements. The program is set up in six stages: GO forward, GO backwards, STOP, TURN, SPIN and JUMP. The CanSkate program emphasizes fun and movement and is taught in a group lesson format. Awards and incentives motivate skaters to achieve and develop their skills and keep interest high.

The CanSkate program uses a group format to teach beginners the basic skills for hockey, ringette, and figure skating. The program uses skill progression and repetition throughout the stages to introduce physical literacy and establish quality basic skating skills.

CanSkate is taught using circuits, which allows skaters to be moving at least 90% of the time they are on the ice. The circuits are split into three fundamental areas:

  • Balance – forward skating skills, pushing technique, and edge
  • Control – backward skating skills, stopping, and speed
  • Agility – turning and jumping skills

CanSkate sessions are 50-60 minutes long. Pre-CanSkate sessions are 30 minutes long. (Pre-CanSkate is for children as young as three who have no skating experience.)

Each session consists of a warm-up period and three lessons (agility, balance, and control). Two of these lessons are with professional coaches and the third is in the “Fun Zone” with Program Assistants (PAs). The session ends with a group activity and a cool down.

Skate Canada allows a maximum of ten skaters to one coach, so that each skater receives lots of attention. Trained PA are on the ice to help the coaches and the kids for a more fun experience.

The CanSkate program consists of stages 1 through 6. After a skater completes stage 3, they move into the Introduction to STARSkate program, which covers stages 4 through 6. After a skater completes stage 6, they move into the Preliminary level of the STARSkate program.

Our coaches frequently assess the skaters and at the end of the series of lessons, each skater receives a report card with feedback.



• should fit comfortably
• toes should be able to wiggle
• heels should not lift more than a ¼ inch
• an adult finger should fit in the top of the boot when it’s laced up

Long ends of laces should be tucked into the tops of the skates (to prevent tripping on them). Use skate guards when on the areas that don’t have mats, to protect the skate blades. Sharpen skates regularly. Check with a coach if you’re not sure when to sharpen them.

Skaters at stage 5 and lower must wear CSA-approved helmets.

Clothing should be warm, fitted (not baggy or hanging), and include mitts/gloves.

Read more about Skate Canada’s CanSkate program here.