Without question, skating is the most important skill for an ice hockey player to learn. Players will spend their hockey lives working to continually improve their skating skills.
Prior to picking up a stick it is important for new players to be comfortable moving around on the ice.
It is strongly recommended that all new skaters start with a Learn to Skate program.
Various local rinks offer Learn to Skate programs (see the links or view the Local Rinks tab). The programs are conducted under the structure of the Learn to Skate USA program, which provides the foundation for all skating sports, including Ice Hockey, Figure Skating and Speed Skating.
Most rinks offer multiple Learn To Skate sessions throughout the year. These sessions generally last for about 6 weeks. Most offer rental skates, but you will likely need to provide your own helmet (either a hockey helmet or a bicycle helmet are fine). Your child will receive instruction as well as have some time to practice on their own. Some programs may also offer the opportunity for parents to skate with their children during the open skate portion of the program.
Your child will progress through a series of different classes or levels that will teach them different elements of skating.
For hockey players, it is important for you to learn the basic hockey stance, forward strides, turns, the use of your edges and how to stop before moving on to learn to play programs.
While players will continue to work on skating as part of their learn to play program, many kids will continue to also take Learn to Skate programs to continue to improve their skating. They will work on their backwards skating, cross-overs and continue to develop their stride.