Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Fort St John Elks Speed Skating Club
Fort St John Elks Speed Skating Club

There are a lot of questions that crop up regularly from people who are interested in the sport… many of these questions are answered in our Registration Package but here is a re-cap…  If you have any other question, we will be at the Fall One Stop Registration on Saturday Sept 12/15 from 10:00am – 2:00 pm at the Totem Mall!

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 skate!  We can help you with all of that.  It simply means you are THE Master 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 will start them in “Learn To Skate”.  If your child is between the ages of 3 & 6 and can already skate a little bit they will be in Group 1, also known as “Cradles” or “Active Start”.  If your child can already skate a little and is between the ages of 6-11 they will be in Group 2.  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 Group 3.


What equipment will we need?

We have rather strict guidelines regarding safety equipment.  We have most of these items available for sale if you don’t already have them.

  • Helmet.  This can not be a bike helmet, but it can be a snowboard or hockey helmet.  We have speed skating helmets available for sale.
  • Glasses/goggles.  They can be safety glasses or sports goggles, they should 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).  We have these items available for sale.
  • 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.  Again 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!!  These are not a safety item but we require that your child uses skate guards as soon as they are off the ice!


What about skates?

We have skates available to rent!  We charge $100/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 guards, it also means that the skates are dried before they are put away.  Our equipment expert will explain everything to you when you rent them.

These skates can not 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.



Nobody likes fundraising, but doing the fundraising is what enables us to purchase skates to rent out to you or your child.  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 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.  We require a $100 deposit (or pay-out if you prefer to not sell the tickets) per skater which will be returned to you after your fundraising requirements have been met.  If you are concerned that you don’t know any people you can sell to, we have times available to use the booth at the mall. (I sold my tickets at the mall!).


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!

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 also 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.



Learn To Skate; First day of skating October 6/15
Tuesdays 5:00 – 5:45 PM LT

Group 1 – Active Start; First day of skating October 1/15
Tuesdays 5:00 – 5:45 PM LT

Thursdays 6:00 – 6:45 PM ST

Group 2 – Learn to Train; First day of skating October 1/15
Tuesdays 5:00 – 6:00 PM LT

Thursdays 6:00 – 7:00 PM ST

Group 3 – Train to Train; First day of Skating September 9/15
Mondays 7:00 – 8:00 pm LT

Wednesdays 7:00 – 8:00 pm LT

Thursdays 5:00 – 6:00 pm ST

Sundays 4:00 – 5:00 pm ST

Group 4 – Masters; First day of skating Sept 9/15 but there will be no Saturday ice until October
Mondays 7:00 – 8:00 PM LT

Wednesdays 7:00 – 8:00 PM LT

Saturdays 10:00 – 11:00 AM LT