Open House

Come to our fall OPEN HOUSE where you will have the opportunity to learn about the sport from talking to skaters and coaches. 

Then you will actually skate for free on speed skates, which we will loan to you. You will find that they feel quite different from the hockey or figure skates you may be familiar with, but you will also discover that you can go considerably faster with them.

Welcome to the world of speed and racing!


Sunday September 8 2019, starting at 4:00 pm.
We have ice from 4:00 to 6:00 pm for your trial, so arrive at least a half an hour before you expect to skate to give yourself time to prepare.


The Mount Joy Arena in Markham. 6140 16th Avenue, Markham, ON,L3P 3K8

What do I need?

Bring and wear the following items:

  • Comfortable but snug clothes with full length sleeves and legs, such as a sweat suit with a T-shirt underneath. Bare skin should not show (except the face). Baggy pants are not suitable. Parkas or other winter outerwear are not necessary on the ice.
  • Helmet. A hockey or snowboard helmet or something similar CSA approved, with a solid protective outer shell is fine to start, but bicycle helmets are NOT acceptable (too many openings in the shell). If you don't have one meeting this characteristic, we can loan you one for the occasion. Note that helmets certified to ASTM F 1849 for speed skating are recommended for regular practice.
  • Gloves or mitts are OK for the open house. For regular sessions, lightweight leather or a cut-resistant synthetic material (Kevlar or Dyneema) is best.
  • Neck guard (hockey bib style) if you have one. If not, ensure that the neck is covered with a high collar (e.g. a turtleneck).For regular skating sessions, a proper neck guard is required. NO BARE SKIN AT THE NECK.
  • Knee pads (soft is best, but hard shell ones are fine too) if you have them. Highly recommended (to protect your knees lest you fall forward). Required for regular skating sessions.
  • Shin guards (soccer style) are worn during normal practice sessions, and are recommended but not required during the Open House.
  • Eye protection (clear plastic or colored/darkened glasses or visor, shatter-resistant) is required for protection from ice chips and skate blades. A rear strap is also required to keep glasses in place.

You may also wear elbow pads and wrist guards if you prefer, but they are not required and are not normally worn.

Most of all, bring curiosity, an appetite to learn, and a desire to excel!

Must I be able to skate?

An ability to skate on hockey or figure skates is definitely advantageous, but you will still have to change your technique to suit speed skates and the requirements of racing. You will definitely benefit from the experience, whatever your objectives are or become.

Is there any age limitation?

No. Although the major objective is to develop the racing abilities of young people from age six and up, most provincial race meets also include many adults of all ages, so everyone can participate, compete, and have fun.

What will I do?

Initially, you will have the opportunity to learn about the sport and our Club by talking with our coaches and other members.

Then, assuming that you will want to take advantage of the opportunity to speed skate, you will fill in a registration form and go to a dressing room and find a pair of our speed skates that fit you. Note that short track speed skates are different than the hockey or figure skates that you may already be used to. In particular, the blades are longer, narrower, and flatter than the other kinds. Furthermore, the boot has a hard fiberglass shell, and is set higher.

Please always keep the guards on the blades when you are not on the ice. (take off and put on at the rink door)

We require that you provide a security deposit of a driver's license or some such item while you are in possession of our skates: we will return the item when you return the skates.

After you have put on the skates and have reviewed the safety procedures (see below), you will then skate around the ice to get used to the skates. You will find that they glide much better than what you are used to, but that they may seem slippery and that it is easy to catch the toe of the blade in the ice. The increased length, reduced width, flat bottom, and flatter rocker of the blade compared with hockey or figure skates provide greater speed but at the expense of reduced maneuverability. You will quickly discover that you will have to modify your skating technique to achieve the speed you are looking for!

You also familiarize yourself with the ice environment.

  • Thick blue foam pads ("mats") standing against the boards at diagonal corners. They protect you from impact injury you lest you fall and slide to the outside of the ice.
  • Black rubber cones ("blocks") around each corner. They mark the track around which you will skate (outside the blocks)

PARENTS: Safety is very important, so please ensure that your children are familiar with the following safety rules before they get on the ice to avoid collisions:

  • Only skate counterclockwise around the track (i.e. only turn LEFT around the corners)
    Never skate towards oncoming traffic
  • Slower skaters should stay to the outside by the boards, as the faster skaters will skate close to the blocks
  • Do not make unpredictable moves, such as sudden turns or stops or crossing traffic
  • Always assume that a faster skater is approaching you from behind who is planning where to go to get past you, so always maintain a smooth, continuous, predictable course so the other skater will not collide with you
  • If you fall, get out of the way of other skaters and get up quickly
  • If you want to rest or practice in the center of the ice, look behind you for traffic, and only cross to the inside the track when safe to do so
  • Likewise, watch for traffic before coming out from the center

These safety rules will be repeated by our instructors before you get on the ice.

Our instructors will also lead you as a group through some basic procedures of speed skating.