Start skating

Being a strong skater will make you stand out from your teammates. Keeping your balance while wearing all that heavy kit and having the ability to move across the ice quickly is a huge advantage.

You do need to have some level of skating ability before you try to join a team. Luckily, skating isn’t as hard as it looks on TV and with a bit of practice and commitment you’ll get good in no time!

Get your skates on!

Before you start learning to skate, you obviously need to grab yourself a pair of skates. You might be tempted to head down to your nearest rink and grab a pair of rental skates. These are usually of cheap quality and are designed to last, not to give you the best experience, hence why they are made of hard materials which don’t support your feet very well. We only recommend using them for your first few times on the ice. If you decide you want to seriously learn how to skate, ditch them quickly and buy a decent pair of hockey skates.

Rental skates usually do a bad job of replicating any specific skates given that they are supposed to be generic, so don’t judge skating based off your falls wearing those! Learn more about skates in our kit guide.

Starting out

If you are joining a development team (5-15) you will probably learn how to properly skate as you go. The ability requirements will vary per club. Some will expect more than others, so it’s worth checking their website for more information.

If you’re joining a rec team, the bare minimum they will usually want is for you to:

  • be able to skate properly (by having great form and technique) in a straight line without stumbling
  • perform a basic hockey stop without falling over (this one takes time and a lot of falls to develop!)
  • perform a basic snowplough stop (the easier stop for beginners)

Ideally, you should also be able to:

  • perform forward crossovers
  • skate backwards at a moderate speed
  • change direction without stopping
  • perform a basic mohawk

When to skate

If you’re brand new to skating, a public session will do you nicely. Lots of other newbies falling over around you certainly helps to relieve embarassment!

Public sessions are, of course, open to the public! This means you get a variety of different skaters. Some have been skating their whole life, others have never worn a skate before. (although, the more skilled skaters do tend to avoid public sessions as they cannot practice more advanced skills safely). All skaters move around in the same direction.

Once you get the very basics under your belt (like being able to actually skate) and you want to try slightly more difficult stuff (like hockey stops) you can always head to a Stick & Puck session. Most rinks require that you wear at least a helmet to attend one of these, but they will be much emptier and people will be wearing kit, so you can practice more advanced skills while reducing the chance of injury to others and yourself.

How to skate

The least experienced skaters tend to skate very close to the board so they can grab on when they feel like they’re about to fall and this is perfectly fine. If you’re new, you should probably do this too. Try to slowly get the feel of things by going around the edge of the rink, then slowly venture out as you pick up speed.

Hockey Tutorial

Once you’re able to actually skate, learn to stop, then continue working your way through the basic skills.

We think skating is best explained through video, so take a look at our Helpful Resources page for skating videos we’d recommend.