Frequently Asked Questions

There are a lot of questions that crop up regularly from people who are interested in the sport, we hope to answer them here.  If you have any other question, please contact us at info@fsjspeedskating.com

Which group will my child/I be in?

  • Are you an adult?  If you are then you will be in Group 4, also known as “The Masters”.  Just because it is called Masters doesn’t mean you need to be a master, or even know how to speed skate!  We can help you with that (although we do not have the ability to help those who cannot skate at all).  It simply means you are over 18 and you would like to skate; either for fitness, to learn a new skill or simply… to skate.   🙂
  • If you are signing up your child then we need to know if your child can skate.  If they can not skate we recommend you try the City of Fort St. John’s program called Boots to Blades.  If your child is between the ages of 3 & 6 and can already skate a little bit they will be in Active Start, also known as “Cradles”.  If your child can already skate a little and is between the ages of 6-11 they will be in Learn to Train.  All of these groups skate at the same time and on the same evenings (although Learn to Skate is only once per week).
  • If your child is 11 – 18 years old they will skate with Train to Train.

 

What equipment will we need?

We have rather strict guidelines regarding safety equipment.  We have some of these items available for sale if you don’t already have them or you can get them from your local sporting goods store.

  • Helmet.  This cannot be a bike helmet, but it can be a snowboard or hockey helmet.  We have speed skating helmets available for sale and they are the best option.
  • Glasses/goggles.  They can be safety glasses or sports goggles, they will need to have a lanyard to hold them on.
  • Cut-proof gloves (leather or other cut resistant material there are various activities that make suitable gloves) and cut proof socks (these are a speed skating only type product made of dyneema or kevlar).
  • Shin/knee protection.  Many skin suits have built in shin/knee protection but if yours doesn’t (or if you don’t have or want to wear a skin suit) you will need something.  Soccer or hockey pads work well.
  • Neck guard with bib.  A hockey neck guard will work well.
  • Skin suits are NOT a requirement.  As skaters advance they like them for performance reasons as well as for the many safety features that are built in (they are often completely lined with cut-proof material).  They are a requirement for some competitions in the higher levels.
  • SKATE GUARDS!!  We require all of our rental skates to have hard and soft guards.  The hard guards are for protecting the blades while the skates are being worn.  The soft guards are for protecting the blades from rust and are to be used after the blades are dried off, anytime the skates are NOT being worn.

 

What about skates?

We have skates available to rent!  We charge $125/season to rent our skates, we also require a $300 deposit to ensure that our skates are cared for and returned to us.  This deposit will be returned to you when we receive the skates back in good condition.  These skates are very expensive so we are really hoping that everyone takes very good care of them so that we can return all of the damage deposits.  This means that any time your child is not on the ice, they are using hard guards, it also means that the skate blades are dried and soft guards are used when they are put away.  Our equipment expert will explain everything to you when you rent them.

These skates can’t be sharpened as hockey and figure skates are… they require a jig and sharpening stones.  Early in the season one of our coaches will demonstrate how to sharpen the skates, and the club has the sharpening equipment available to borrow.  If you aren’t comfortable doing it yourself, you can usually find some of the older skaters (Group 3) will be happy to do this service for a small fee.

If you already have hockey or figure skates and would like to use those, that is fine!  If your child is just learning to skate though, you may want to consider speed skates as they have a longer, flatter blade that will make it a bit easier to stand on the ice.

 

Fundraising?

Nobody likes fundraising, but doing the fundraising is what enables us to purchase skates to rent out to you or your child.  It is also how our club purchases mats and various other needs we have as a competitive club.  We are a non-profit group, the fees that we charge per skater cover the ice fees that we pay to the city and the registration/insurance fees that we pay to Speed Skate Canada.  That means if we want to purchase new skates or mats or other equipment, we have to get the money from somewhere else.  We have been selling the Mega-Lottery tickets for quite a few years now and have found that this is a good way for us to earn that skate money but it no longer seems to be enough so we have adopted a few more fundraising options and requirements.  Please stay tuned to find out what this years fundraisers will be.

 

What are the volunteer requirements?

We have an amazing club that is ENTIRELY run by volunteers, we couldn’t have this club without support from our skaters and their families.  We ask that everyone finds a spot that they can help out and offer their time whenever they can.  Many hands make light work!  The easiest way to find out how/where you can help is by coming to some of our meetings (they are held the 2nd Wednesday of each month).  These meetings have people in there who will take you under their wing and help you find a spot.  This can mean being a contact person for your child’s group, or being a person to add items to our bulletin board,  or a position on our board of directors, or even as a coach or on ice helper!

COACHES;  Our coaches are ALL volunteers.  Every one of them!  We have senior coaches who are in charge of the groups and we have junior coaches (our Group 3 skaters) who help the adult coaches with the younger skaters.  We ask that you direct any questions or concerns that you have to our senior coaches.  We also welcome the parents of our very young skaters to help out on ice, we just ask that you please speak to a senior coach before-hand so we can ensure the proper forms have been filled out.

MEETS;  Speed Skate Meets are hosted by our club, every so often, and help is always required to man these events.  We require food donations, raffle ticket sales, info table people.  We also need rather specialized help due to the fact that this is an Olympic sport.  We require timers, place judges, meet coordinators, recorders, starters and other people.  We provide training for all of these jobs and have a fabulous history of mentor-ship in this sport.  Training is offered every so often in the form of “clinics”  You are welcome to take any of the clinics offered after taking the Level 1 clinic.

We advise that new parents to the sport attend a clinic hosted by Mr. Wim Kok called “Introduction to Speed Skating”  also known as the Level 1 Clinic… it isn’t scary or boring, it does answer many of the questions you probably have about the sport!  Mr. Kok is an interesting man who has some incredible experience with the sport of speed skating and you will enjoy his clinic.  We will let our club members know when this clinic is going to be held.

 

Schedule?

Active Start; (once a week)
Tuesdays 5:00 – 6:00 PM LT

Active Start; (twice a week)
Tuesdays 5:00 – 6:00 PM LT

Thursdays 5:00 – 6:00 PM ST

Learn to Train;
Tuesdays 5:00 – 6:00 PM LT

Thursdays 5:00 – 6:00 PM ST

Train to Train;
Mondays 7:00 – 8:00 pm LT

Wednesdays 7:00 – 8:00 pm LT

Thursdays 6:00 – 7:00 pm ST

Sundays 4:00 – 5:00 pm ST

Masters;
Mondays 7:00 – 8:00 PM LT

Wednesdays 7:00 – 8:00 PM LT

Saturdays 10:00 – 11:00 AM LT

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