(Answers to) Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What equipment do I need for speed skating?
A: You need speed skates, of course! But you can rent them from us. You'll also need the following mandatory protective equipment:
- helmet (a bike or hockey helmet is fine)
- gloves (ideally cut-proof but leather is fine)
- neck guard (hockey neck guard), neck guard with bib is required for competitive racing
- knee pads (in-line skating or volleyball knee pads are fine)
- shin pads (soccer style shin pads are acceptable)
- shatter-resistant eyeglasses with a strap (required for competitive racing)
Skinsuits or tights are not required but no loose-fitting clothing please.
Neck guards, knee pads, and shin pads may be purchased at Canadian Tire, for example.
Q: How do I sharpen my speed skates?
A: Speed skates are sharpened by hand using a sharpening stone and a jig. Please see a Board member for more information.
Q: How do I care for my speed skates after each practice?
A: Here's a how-to guide:
- Always cover the blades with skate guards when the skates are worn and used anywhere other than on the ice. This includes putting the skates on and taking them off, walking in an arena, etc. The purpose of this is to protect the bottoms and edges of the blades from damage or abrasion caused by sand and other materials on the floor of the arena, and also to maintain the sharpness of the blade.
- Always dry the blades soon after coming off the ice. Use any absorbent material to do this, for example, a cloth or paper towel. The purpose of this and the next two procedures is to prevent the blade from rusting. Hard steel is particularly prone to rusting so you must be diligent in preventing it.
- Never leave a guard on a wet blade or put a wet guard onto a dry blade.
- After drying, store the blades either uncovered or in contact with an absorbent material, for example, a pair of soft cloth skate covers, old hockey socks or resting on a towel.
- If you do detect rust on the blades, consult a Club coach or other official before attempting any remedy.
- Report any loose blades, screws, brackets, broken laces, etc. to a Club official.
- If the blades are uncovered during storage and transportation, take care to prevent the blades from banging into each other or into the other boot. Either action will clearly cause damage.
- Never put speed skates in an automatic type of skate sharpener. Speed skates are to be sharpened by hand only by Club officials or by you, only if you have received proper instruction. The blades are sharpened by hand on special equipment (i.e. Jig and sharpening stone).
Q: I'm a parent who's new to speed skating. Can you recommend any on-line resources?
A: You may find the following useful:
Q: My child is planning to attend his/her first speed skating meet. Any tips?
A: Check out the "My First Speed Skating Meet" information booklet available from the Ottawa Pacers Speed Skating Club web site.
Q: How can I get involved with the club?
A: Volunteers are always welcome! TSSC is a not-for-profit club that is run by volunteers. All of our executive members run the club in their spare time. We encourage all TSSC members and families to help out in daily activities such as helping others try on skates, setting up safety mats before practices, answering questions, etc. Contact us and let us know how you can help.
Q: What age should my child be to start speed skating?
A: We recommend that children be at least 6 years of age and comfortable on skates.