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CanSkate - Communications - Q & A

  1. If a club has more than one coach on their CanSkate sessions, do all of the coaches on the session have to complete the training in order to run the program?
    Yes. All coaches teaching the new CanSkate program must complete the CanSkate Coach Online Training Module before instructing the new program.
  2. How will clubs know if a coach has completed the online training?
    Every coach who completes the CanSkate Coach Online Training Module will receive an automatic email confirmation and certificate indicating their successful completion. The club should be asking for a copy of the email confirmation or certificate prior to the start of the season. Clubs may also view a list of their club coaches in Members Only under Clubs and Schools > Clubs > Club Information Update > Coaches which will indicate the coaches who have completed the online training.
  3. If all of the club’s CanSkate coaches are away on the same day, what level of coach can replace them?
    All coaches teaching in a Skate Canada club must be a minimum of NCCP Instruction Beginner CanSkate In-Training status and be registered with Skate Canada for the current season. If the club is offering the new CanSkate program all coaches, including replacement coaches, must have completed the CanSkate Coach Online Training Module prior to teaching the program.
  4. If a club wants to implement the new CanSkate program must all program standards be met now or do they have two years to get the program up to standard?
    Ideally, clubs should strive to meet as many of the program standards as they can now. However, clubs do have until September 1, 2014 to become fully operational and to meet all program delivery standards as listed in the new CanSkate Manual. The standards that are mandatory now are: (1) all coaches teaching the new CanSkate program must have completed the CanSkate Coach Online Training Module and (2) the CanSkate session must include these four components: warmup, lesson time, group activity and cool-down.
  5. Are clubs required to have a CanSkate administrator? Can the coach just take care of all of the details?
    The administration can be done by a coach who is willing to take on this role. The administrator can be paid or be a volunteer depending on the club’s resources.
  6. When will the ribbons and on-ice signs be available to order? Do coaches need to have completed their training module before clubs can order them?
    The new CanSkate ribbons are now available. Order forms can be found in the Online Store or in Members Only under Technical and Programs > New CanSkate > Workable Documents and Templates. The names of the coaches who will be teaching the program and their Skate Canada membership numbers will be required. These coaches must have completed the CanSkate Coach Online Training Module in order for the club to purchase the new CanSkate materials.

    On-ice signage - At this time, Skate Canada will provide signage artwork for clubs to print at their local print shop or office supplies store. Please email with your print shop’s contact information. The Skate Canada marketing staff will liaise directly with them to ensure accurate printing, colour and dimensions according to Skate Canada branding specifications. Clubs are responsible for ordering and payment and may choose the type of stock/material on which to print (e.g. foam core, corrugated cardboard, plasticized, laminated card stock, etc.), according to their own budgets.
  7. Will the new CanSkate program cost more to run than the previous program? What extra expenses can a club expect to have?
    Extra initial costs may include the purchasing of teaching aids/props, markers, cones, etc. Many of these items can be obtained inexpensively at dollar stores and garage sales. There is also the exciting new series of award ribbons, priced reasonably at $10.00 per package of 25 ribbons, as well as the CanSkate on-ice station signage (Balance, Control, Agility and Fun Zone signs) that may be printed at a local print shop or office supplies store (see information noted in Question #6). Coaches will also require some initial planning and training time with the club’s coaches and program assistants prior to the start of the season. Coaches will also need to choose and assemble music for the session if not already done. NOTE: A series of Skate Canada tunes are available to download free of charge from Members Only under Technical and Programs > New CanSkate > CanSkate music.
  8. Is there a pre-made CD of music that can be purchased?
    No, due to music copyright restrictions, Skate Canada cannot offer a full CD of music. There are complete guidelines on how to assemble a CanSkate session CD and a suggested music playlist contained in the CanSkate Manual as well as a selection of Skate Canada tunes available to download free of charge on Members Only under Technical and Programs > New CanSkate > CanSkate music.
  9. A club held registration last week and accepted 80 skaters on their CanSkate ice. What do they do?
    If a club plans to have more than 65 skaters on a CanSkate session they must contact the Skate Canada national office at coaching& to request an Operating CanSkate with 65+ Skaters Request Form. The coach must complete the form in which they are required to describe in detail their on-ice plan. Official approval must be granted from the national office prior to operating with these numbers. Approval will be granted on a one-year basis so clubs will be required to re-submit the request form annually.
  10. Can a club run a CanPowerSkate program in conjunction with the new CanSkate session if registration numbers are low? If the CanPowerSkate coach is only teaching the CanPowerSkate program but sharing the Fast Track with the CanSkate program, do they need to have taken the new CanSkate Coach Online Training Module?
    If numbers are very low, and based on the ages and level of skaters involved, it may be possible to run a CanPowerSkate session during a CanSkate session. The main concern is to not jeopardize the integrity of either program – both programs require full ice usage several times during a session, thus ice must be used very creatively and planned out in great detail in advance. A CanPowerSkate coach who is not teaching the CanSkate program is not required to complete the CanSkate Coach Online Training Module, although they should have a good understanding of the on-ice program structure.
  11. For skaters currently in CanSkate, where do they fit in the new program?
    In light of the curriculum changes to the Stage badges (several skills have been shifted to previous badges); there will be a transition period for some skaters. For example, if a skater passed their Stage 1 badge using the program from last season, based on the changes to the elements in the new badge system the skater may be placed, at least initially, in a group that is working on the new Stage 1 badge. Although a skater may have to repeat a stage, or parts of it for a time, there will be a faster progression through the stages (due to greater skill repetition with circuits and more solid foundation of basics built right from the beginning) so they should catch up quickly to last season’s stage. The CanSkate coaches will be able to assess and place skaters in the groups best suited to their abilities and interest.
  12. Can parents of younger Pre-CanSkaters help their child on the ice at the beginning of the season? Do they need to be registered with Skate Canada and/or attend program assistant (PA) training?
    If a club chooses to offer a parent and tot session or have parents come onto the ice for a portion of the session then the parents must be registered members of Skate Canada so that they are covered by Skate Canada insurance. In addition, if not above a Stage 5 level of ability, parents must wear a CSA-approved hockey helmet. If a parent is interested in assisting the club as a PA on the ice they must attend a PA training session and be a registered member of Skate Canada.
  13. Although a skater passed Stage 5 last season, they may be working on Stage 5 in the new program. Do they have to go back to wearing a helmet until they pass the new Stage 5?
    While transitioning to the new CanSkate, clubs will have skaters who will be repeating a level and if this is at the Stage 5 level, then yes, they will be required to wear a helmet as per the Skate Canada helmet policy.
  14. When do coaches teach the skills during a CanSkate session? Do coaches actually teach on a circuit?
    Absolutely! Skills are taught during the lesson time using circuits. There is more movement, no one is standing around, it is more efficient and more fun – and
    skaters learn the skills more quickly. For a complete explanation of how to teach and practice skills on a circuit, review the new CanSkate Manual (Section 4: On-ice Technical and Teaching) and the accompanying videos which can be found in Members Only under Technical and Programs > New CanSkate.
  15. Are there any innovative ways to draw circuits on the ice, for those coaches who may be limited from bending down?
    Yes, coaches may: (a) Affix a marker to a broom handle or other device to draw without having to bend down; (b) Use skill symbol signs on plungers/pylons, use arches, stop signs, hula hoops, etc. that create the flow of a circuit without having to draw, then use PAs to finish the rest OR (c) Have experienced PAs set up all circuits. Refer to the new CanSkate Manual, Section 3 in Members Only under Technical and Programs > New CanSkate for teaching aid ideas and photos.
  16. Some coaches have created their own skill sheets at their club which include skills they feel the skaters need to do at each stage. Can they continue using those?
    No. The CanSkate program is a branded, trademarked program with a set curriculum (set of skills) that must be delivered as designed. The curriculum was constructed specifically to establish strong basics and ensure proper progressions. Refer to the new CanSkate Manual in Members Only under Technical and Programs > New CanSkate for more detailed information.
  17. Some coaches find the Fast Track gets the skaters too excited before their lesson. Does the club have to use it between rotating groups or can they just do it at the end of the warm-up?
    It is not mandatory to use the Fast Track between each group rotation. It can be used during/after warm-up and during/after the group activity before the cooldown. However, having skaters excited about skating is great! Should coaches wish to run the Fast Track between station rotations, keeping a PA with the Fast Track skaters to ensure safety could be an option.
  18. Should coaches be worried about their skaters falling over all the props on the ice?
    No, the props and teaching aids are used to enhance the session and provide motivation during lessons, indicate circuit patterns on the ice, and help skaters to learn in a fun and stimulating environment. Skaters are taught to respect the props on the ice and they get used to them being there. Other sports such as soccer, hockey, basketball, etc. use many similar teaching aids for drills and skill development activities.
  19. Have clubs and coaches noticed any difference in the children’s skating abilities since working with the new skills and doing the circuits?
    There has been remarkable improvement reported. Skills are being attained at a much quicker rate due to the revised progressions and repetition of skills at different levels, as well as through increased skating and practice time via the use of circuits and the Fast Track. Please see the pilot coach testimonial videos in Members Only under Technical and Programs > New CanSkate for more details.
  20. There is information in the new CanSkate Manual on CanSkate element competitions. What is the philosophy behind them? What are the benefits?
    The purpose of the CanSkate Element Event is to introduce participants to the “competition” component of sport while providing them with the opportunity to showcase their skills in a fun and interactive environment that is appropriate for their age and stage of development. In support of Skate Canada’s ongoing implementation of the Long-Term Athlete Development Model, this event has been formatted to recognize the philosophies of the Learn to Skate stage. This club level event ideally takes place after a 10-week CanSkate session so that skaters have had the chance to learn all the skills in their current stages. The focus of the event is on individual skill improvement thus skaters’ performances are judged to a standard and not ranked. Clubs are highly encouraged to offer these types of events over traditional CanSkate solo competitions as they offer a more positive environment, better skill development opportunities and more ice time for skaters. Precious development time is not missed from having to learn and memorize a solo at this early stage and money is saved by not having to pay for choreography or music.
  21. Are CanSkate Element Events mandatory? Some clubs only have 10 weeks of ice for their CanSkate program, should they make time for an element event?
    CanSkate Element Events are not mandatory. They were originally created as a developmentally appropriate replacement for the traditional CanSkate solo events that some clubs and regions were hosting. Clubs may offer this option if they have time in their season and if it suits the interests and goals of their CanSkate participants.
  22. Some coaches are concerned that if they can't coach private lessons on CanSkate ice, they won’t acquire new students for group or private lessons in the STARSkate program as the parents and skaters may not have exposure to them.
    CanSkate is a group lesson program. Group lessons have been designed to accelerate skaters through the program and ready them for the ice sport of their choice in a fun, interactive environment. Skaters at this level learn best alongside their peers. As well, cost effectiveness for parents at this stage of learning is a key consideration. In light of this, private lessons on CanSkate sessions are not encouraged. Private lessons may be offered in special circumstances in which a skater has special needs and requires extra attention for skill development. In cases like this, coaches may deliver private lessons during the warm-up or group activity/cool-down portion of the session. The number one priority for a club is to ensure that the essence of this program remains true to its objectives. The program requirements including full use of ice by all CanSkate groups is to be maintained throughout the session except in the circumstances noted above. Clubs should have an established an impartial way of listing/promoting all coaches who are available to teach group and/or private lessons in the STARSkate program. Be creative – consider arranging for all coaches to be seen by the CanSkate parents and skaters (e.g. have all club coaches come and help for assessment days; organize a special Fun Zone with coaches or an activity day where all the club coaches are replacing the PAs).

For more information on the new CanSkate program please contact the Coaching and
Skating Programs Department at coaching&


NEW CANSKATE Q&A For Club CanSkate Directors/Administrators

  1. How do we get started?
    Preparation, education and organization is the key to success! The club will need to take time to organize the coaches, program assistants, skaters and parent for the new program. One of the first steps is to ensure all of your coaches have completed the CanSkate update online module available on Members Only or that they have participated in the new NCCP CanSkate Instruction Beginner Course. Coaches and clubs should be familiar with the CanSkate documents available to them on Members Only.
    During the club registration provide the parent information letter outlining the program and what the skater and parent can expect. Provide coach and Program Assistant (PA) training for the staff at your club. (Please see Keeping In Touch Issue #15 for further tips and tricks on Getting Organized and Helpful Hints for the New CanSkate)
  2. How do we tell parents and skaters that even though they passed a Stage in the old program they may now be expected to repeat that stage?
    There is a parent letter available that explains the change in the program. Holding a parent information session assists in educating the parents on what to expect and why their child may be “repeating” a level. In fact the skater is not repeating the level the skills within the level have been adjusted and are now more difficult than in the previous program. The CanSkate coaches will be able to assess and place skaters in the group best suited to their abilities and interest.
  3. How do we get coaches to invest time to acquire knowledge of the new program? The mandatory implementation for the new program is September 2014 and all coaches and clubs will have to be familiar with the program at that time. For many coaches it is a fear of the unknown but once they see the new program in action the fear is somewhat alleviated. There are many resources available on Members Only as well as each section within Skate Canada has CanSkate Resource Team members who have been trained by Skate Canada on the new program and are available to assist each club with any questions or concerns they may have.
  4. The cost seems high for our club to start the new program i.e. signs, props, ribbons – how do we run the program if we can’t afford it?
    The start-up cost for the new program should only be slightly increased from previous years. For props, dollar stores are a great and affordable place to shop. Seasonal items can also be purchased on sale after the holiday i.e. Halloween, Valentine’s Day etc. at local stores. Garage sales are a great place to find affordable toys/stuffed animals etc.
  5. How many skaters should be on the ice at one time?
    A session may not have more than 65 participants at one time. There is a guide in the CanSkate manual as to how to format your session based on the number of registrants, coaches, PAs etc. If the session is going to have more than 65 skaters the club must apply to Skate Canada for permission at coaching& and request the “Operating CanSkate with 65+ Skaters Request Form”. The coach must complete the form and submit the request for review and approval. Approval will be granted on a one-year basis only so clubs will be required to re-submit the request annually.
  6. How do we organize the ice with Pre-CanSkate and CanSkate on the same session if the Pre-CanSkate program runs for a different length of time?
    This can be a challenge for many clubs and one option for timing is to have your Pre- CanSkate participants warm up off the ice at the beginning of the session, then take the ice for the lesson time and do the group activity and cool down in their assigned space on the ice. An example for a thirty minute Pre-CanSkate session could be: 5 – 10 min. off-ice warm up; on-ice lesson 20 min; group activity and cool-down 5 min. (the actual timing would depend on the length of the session)
  7. We run CanPowerSkate and CanSkate at the same time – how do we do that now?
    If numbers are low, and based on the ages and levels of the skaters involved, it is possible to run a CanPowerSkate session during a CanSkate session. The main concern is not to jeopardize the integrity of either program – both programs require full ice usage several times during the session, thus ice must be used creatively and sessions must be planned in great detail in advance.
  8. We don’t have enough Program Assistants and this seems to take a lot of PAs to make the program run.
    PAs can come from within your entire community. Many clubs use hockey and ringette players as PAs. The club simply must make sure that all PAs are registered Skate Canada members. Another idea is to ask parents if they are interested in helping out with the program - find out what their skating background is and their availability. Add the question to your registration: Are you as a parent interested in volunteering as a Program Assistant? Also contact local high schools and ask that they add your club to volunteer opportunities for students. You must register all Program Assistants with Skate Canada annually.
  9. What teaching aids does a club have to have?
    We recommend pylons, domes, markers or bingo dabbers, plungers, hoola hoops, plush toys, skill signage and anything that will compliment your session. Garage sales and the dollar stores are great places to find props and teaching aids. The club and coaches (and even PAs) can use their imagination to create a fun, safe and vibrant environment for the skaters.
  10. Storage is an issue at our club - where do we store all of the signage, etc.?
    If your facility does not have storage space available the coaches or session supervisor may have to take responsibility for the props and signage used on the session. One tip is to use saucer cones in place of the standard cone as they take up much less space. Ask the facility if there is locker space available or if you can create a locker area in which to store items.
  11.  How do we keep track of individual progress and award ribbons and badges?
    The tracking sheets provided on Members Only are to be used to track each skater’s progress. Many clubs keep session binders or clip boards that hold the individual and group assessment sheets to keep track of all skills, ribbons and stages passed.

Should you have further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at coaching&

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