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To Properly Maintain Blades:
- Be sure to fully dry the blades after each use to prevent rust from developing.
- Store the blades in a cotton skate cover, between practices, not in plastic skate guards where condensation will accumulate on the blades and cause them to rust.
- Use a hard-plastic skate guard when going on and off the ice.
- Sharpen the blades regularly. It is best to sharpen quickly on a regular basis rather than an occasional long sharpening job. Skates can be sharpened by club sharpeners: label with skater’s name, leave skates in the sharpening basket after practice. Cost is $5.00 per pair.
- Check the edge of the blade with a finger nail to check for sharpness and burr. If you are able to scrape some of your nail, the blade does not need to be sharpened. When checking for burr, you want to be able to scrape your fingernail upwards on the side of the blade without catching it on a piece metal.
- Have the rocker and bend on skates checked at least twice (beginning and mid-season) per season by a club coach or equipment person. Ask your coach for details.
Please ask your coach if you are not able to find these items listed below. Some can be ordered online from speed skating speciality companies while others can be purchased locally.
Not all these items are required for beginner skaters so ask your coach what they recommend to start. Have fun!
A full body suit, covering the participant’s arms and legs is necessary to reduce the risk of getting cut and to keep warm. It can be a skin suit that is worn in competition as shown in the illustration, or a pair of pants with a long sleeved shirt that allows the participant to have a full range of motion. Skating makes the kids hot so don’t send them out in their winter jackets as they will sweat quickly.
A helmet is required for training in all contexts of short track speed skating. For beginners any helmet that does not have a pointed segment is acceptable, however, in order to participate in sanctioned competitions competitors must wear an ASTM certified helmet. Ask your coach for details.
Safety glasses are highly recommended for all participants and required in some provinces and territories. Glasses should be resistant to impact and have a strap that allows them to be firmly attached to the participant’s head. (e.g. Racquetball glasses or safety glasses from Home Depot work too!)
A neck guard with a bib is required and can be purchased at most sports stores – hockey ones are fine.
Cut resistant gloves are required. Gloves designed specifically for competition are available; however, a leather or synthetic leather glove is suitable for beginners.
Knee pads are often built directly into competition skin suits; however, these knee pads often provide limited protection to the sides of the knee. A knee pad made of high density foam that protects the side of knee is recommended. Participants should avoid the hard plastic knee pads often used for rollerblading. While these knee pads offer good protection to the wearer, they pose a safety risk to other participants in event of a collision. Volleyball knee pads work well.
For beginners, having knee pads makes the process of learning to skate less painful and a lot more fun so make sure you grab a pair before they get on the ice!
Shin pads are also often integrated into competition skin suits; however, for beginners it is recommend that participants wear a shin pad made of a hard plastic (soccer style).
Cut resistant socks are mandatory for competitions in some provinces and territories, and highly recommended for all. In high level competitions a cut resistant suit, which includes the socks may be required. Cuts to the ankles are among the most common, and preventable injuries suffered by speed skaters, and these socks significantly reduce the risk.
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