Equipment

Club Skates

New skaters will be fitted with long blade skates at registration. Please replace laces prior to the last skating session. There is no extra charge for the use of these skates but a post-dated cheque deposit of $250.00 is required at registration.

At a minimum cost of $500.00 a pair, you will be expected to take very good care of them!

Remember

  • Never walk on blades without your leather guards.
  • Keep blades sharp.
  • Always dry blades after use. Cover with knitted guards or wrap carefully in a dry towel. As soon as you get home, take skates out of your bag, remove covers, and hang to let air dry. This will avoid rusting.
  • Never leave your skate bag in the car. (theft)
  • Never wrap your boots with tape.
  • Replace laces and guards as required.
  • Return skates at end of season.
  • Do not throw around– this could cause damage to skates and blades.

Skaters/Parents will be responsible for any loss or damage beyond normal wear.

Mandatory Equipment

There are basically 2 types of speed skates, one for Short Track and one for Long Track. The Short Track skate is of a heavier construction for stability and durability. The blade is thicker than that of a Long Track skate's because of the tighter corners and higher stress loads that occur on them. Long Track skates have a lower cut boot and a softer leather boot to facilitate ankle movements while skating outdoors.

Speed skates are a specialty item and as such are quite expensive. Beginner skates start around $250.00 for a child to $2000.00 for a custom molded skate for the advanced skater.

Matsqui is primarily a short track club, however we do have skaters who compete in Long Track meets. Speed skate rental is covered with the registration. Advanced skaters can purchase their own customized skates.

The following equipment is what we require you to have to speed skate:

Protective Eyewear

A new rule on eye protection. All skaters will be required to wear shatter-resistant protective sport glasses or a complete visor. Those wearing corrective lenses (glasses) will be required to wear the "safety" glasses over their corrective lenses (glasses) if they choose to wear their prescription glasses when skating.

Shin Guards

Shin guards, such as those used in soccer are used to protect the lower leg from skate blades. The plastic type are popular and are usually just slipped under the skin-suit and over the Shin, The snugness of the suit holds them solidly in place. These are quite inexpensive, usually ranging from $10.00 to $15.00.

Knee Pads

Knee pads volleyball type are used to protect the skater's knees in a fall. There are many different models on the market and most skaters choose the model that they feel offers the best comfort and protection. The proper size must be purchased for the skater so that it will stay in position over the knee.

Gloves

Gloves are required to prevent cuts to the fingers and abrasions to the hands when falling. The glove must be made of leather or cut resistant nylon. Short Track skaters because of the lean in the corner and the forces acting on them often place a hand on the ice inside the corner to help them hold the corner. Bare skin on the ice would be friction burnt and fingers would be susceptible to cuts if hit by a blade.

Neck Protector

A neck protector is worn to keep the neck area protected from a skate blade in a fall. Hockey neck guards are generally used. They must be the bib type, to cover the neck and upper chest, and made out of kevlar for cut resistance. Tucked under the skin-suit they stay in place well and are comfortable to wear as long as the appropriate size for the skater is worn. These cost around $17.00 to $25.00 depending on Brand name, a lot of skaters use the ITECH models.

Helmets

Safety-type headgear which has a seal of certification meeting the actual ASTM F 1849 standards and which must be securely fastened under the chin. This certification is required for helmets at all SSC Sanctioned competitions.

Both LAS made after 2000 and the Louis Garneau helmets for Speed Skating have have these standards.

These helmets are light and protect while providing good visibility for the skater when in skating position. For now, beginner skaters may use a bicycle helmet at club practices. We would suggest that if you need to purchase a helmet that to first speak to someone in the club. Whenever on the ice skaters must wear a helmet to protect themselves when they fall.

Skin-suit optional for skaters

The skin-suit is used while racing. It is usually made of spandex and snug fitting to help the skater be as aerodynamic as possible, with nothing loose to pick up the wind. Each club has it's own colors. When Practicing outdoors in colder weather skaters will wear lined warm-up suits as well as toques, neck warmers, mitts, and skate covers to keep themselves warm. At competitions where the weather is very cold the skater is not allowed to race unless they are dressed sufficiently to keep warm. The last thing that anyone wants is a case of frostbite.

Skate Bag

Large enough to keep all your equipment organized and protected.

Your skate bag is an important part of your equipment, and if stocked with a few things as suggested, you should have a worry free season. Your bag should be waterproof and large enough to carry everything. Remember to label your things.

What To Put In Your Skate Bag
  • Skates.
  • Guards - skates should be stored without guards. The blades should be protected by wool guards or wrapping them in cloth.
  • Helmet - should fit properly and be in good repair.
  • Knee pads, shin guards, and neck guard - all mandatory.
  • Rag - to dry off skates properly.
  • Socks - a spare pair should always be kept in your bag.
  • Gloves - a spare pair should always be kept in your bag.
  • Laces - a spare pair should always be kept in your bag.
  • Clothes - a pair of jogging pants to change into after practice.
  • Miscellaneous - band-aids, Kleenex, safety pins, etc.

Clothing

For beginner and younger skaters, we recommend warm, comfortable clothing for practices. In general, several thin layers are better than one bulky garment. Sweat pants will be more comfortable than tight fitting jeans. Mitts are warmer than gloves, as they allow for finger movement. Turtleneck sweaters keep the neck area warm and protected. Many speed skaters prefer to wear lycra/spandex race suits– these are streamlined and lightweight to allow for optimum performance. These are optional.

Important

Skaters must have with these items, whenever they go on the ice to skate

  • Helmet
  • Neck guard
  • Shin guards
  • Knee pads
  • Gloves

Without these items, you will be asked to leave the ice. This is for your safety and protection.

Equipment Care

In order to skate your very best, it is important to keep your skates very sharp. Top level skaters will sharpen their blades after every ice time. Newer skaters may find it more difficult to sharpen blades without having their own jigs and stones but they should be sharpened at least after every 3-5 sessions. There are several skaters in the club who will be happy to sharpen your skates for a small fee. Check the newsletters and bulletin board for their names. There is also sharpening equipment in the skate room, which you may use to sharpen your skates, before or after practice. If you need a lesson, please ask and someone can show you how a skate sharpening is done.

If you have any questions regarding equipment, please contact Bette Roberts or Yvonne Warkentin. They will be happy to assist you with it. Some equipment you can get through the club (e.g.) helmets, jigs, stones, and if not, they will try to direct you to how you can get what you need.

We hope this booklet will assist you with questions on speed skating equipment and care.

Speed Skate Care

To do your best in speed skating, your skates need to fit well and the blades must be super sharp and properly rockered. Whether you use club skates or have your own, the responsibility for their care and condition rest with you.

Socks

  • Dry and clean one pair only of a cotton/wool/nylon mixture – avoid 100% nylon.

Lacing

  • Use soft, cotton laces which slide through eyelets easily.
  • Lace up firmly through instep to top– looser over toes.
  • If too long, remove a piece from the middle and tie cut ends together at toe. Wrapping excess around ankle or instep cuts off circulation.

Boots

  • Keep polished with good leather dressing.
  • When wet, dry slowly, and away from direct heat.
  • Have back seam sewn and eyelets replaced as soon as repairs are needed. Tape back heel if you are cutting the leather.

Guards

  • Leather guards are expensive and need as much care as your skates.
  • The only walking you do in them is between the dressing room and the ice. More than that takes the edge off your blades and cuts holes in the guards. Patch holes as soon as they appear.
  • Keep elastic at back snug and the inside clean and dry.

Blades

  • Dry all metal parts immediately after each use as blades rust very easily.
  • Wear guards whenever you have to walk off the ice in your skates.
  • Keep sharp – blades are dull when the edges do not grip the ice.

Sharpening

  • Poor sharpening habits reduce the life of the skates and ruin your skating.
    Check yours and get help if you need it.
  • A normal sharpening should take 10-15 minutes. If it takes longer
    • Skates are not set up evenly in the jig.
    • Skates were allowed to get too dull.
    • Stone is no longer flat.
    • Too heavy a lip is being raised.

Those having Bont skates with adjustable blades carry a 13mm wrench with them in their bag. Every so often and with every sharpening, check to make sure bolts are tight. Do not over tighten. Loose blades could cause a bad fall.

Blade Care

  • Sharpen by hand and always on the same jig.
  • Skates should be sharpened after every four to six ice sessions or at least every 2 weeks.
  • Dry the blades after every use. Even a few drops of water on the blades will cause rust.
  • Storing: Leave the guards off your skates if they are even slightly damp and hang to dry.
  • Always wear guards when walking off the ice.
Tips To Keep Skates Sharp
  • Dry blades well before storing.
  • Keep your skates stored in skate covers (knit or cloth) not in leather or plastic guards.
  • Walk to the ice surface with guards on.
  • Sharpen your skates regularly to keep them in good condition.
  • Sharpening is much easier of you do not allow the skates to get too dull. Small nicks in the blade will smooth out sharpening.

Sharpening Your Speed Skates

Equipment Needed

Skate Sharpening Jig

  • A variety of jigs are available.
  • Before purchasing, ensure that jig chosen will fit the height of your skate.

Stones

  • Sharpening stones are available in a number of sizes and materials.
  • Most stones have a coarse side and a fine side.
  • Stones must be flat and clean, standard sharpening size is 11”x13”.
  • Burr stones– are smaller and are available in a number of materials; they are used to remove the burr built up during sharpening.
  • Usually fine grained 3”x1”.

Oil

  • Is used to clean stone
  • A light machine oil will do a good job (e.g.) WD40, baby oil.
  • Apply oil to stone before beginning each sharpening process.

Soft Rags

  • For cleaning blades

Maintenance Tip for Stones

  • All stones should be kept clean so the steel shavings don’t build up on the stone.
  • The stone may become worn when valleys develop on its cutting edge, which causes uneven sharpening. This will hamper the formation of a burr. The surface of a damaged stone can be made flat again by grinding it on cement.

Sharpening

Setting Up the Skates

  1. Sharpen skates in the same jig so that skates adapt to the idiosyncrasies of that jig.
  2. In a blade holder jig, simply loosen the wing nuts so the jaws of the jig are gripping the blades and resting on the metal lip of the tube.
  3. Check to ensure that an equal amount of each skate is showing behind the jig. This can be done by measuring with a ruler or making a visual estimate using a stone.
  4. Skates must be set up so that blades are parallel to one another and level at the top. A simple check to see if blades are set correctly is to take the stone and run it across the top of the blades lightly. A thin etch mark completely across the blade indicates the blades are level; hence the blades will wear down equally.

Grinding

  1. Place oil on the rough side of stone and begin to grind.
  2. The idea behind each sharpening is to build up a slight “burr” on each side of the blade. Ideally, the same amount of burr should be developed on the entire length of the blade. Therefore, it is best to develop a pattern of sharpening that covers the entire blade equally.
  3. Your large sharpening stone should be held with one hand at each end, thus removing the fingers from any danger and providing even pressure on each side. The stone should re¬main perpendicular to the blades at all times so the same part of each blade is being sharp¬ened.
  4. The beginner is advised to make five stokes in one direction and then five in the other, sliding the stone across the blade so that the entire surface of the blade is covered. As your sharp¬ening skills improve work your stokes up to ten to fifteen.
  5. After 3 or 4 cycles of alternating direction, turn the jig around so that the stone is traveling from toe to heel of the skate and repeat the same number of cycles. Remember to run the stone from the tip to the tail of the skate blade each time. The skate rocker should not be affected by sharpening in this manner.
  6. Burrs can be detected easily by using the fingernails which will click on the tiny lip of steel.
  7. When a complete burr is present, make a few passes with the smooth side of the stone to remove crosshatch marks.
  8. To remove burr, place burr stone on the tube of the skate and slide it forward and backward the entire length of the blade until the burr disappears completely. The best way to this is to place the jig on its side. Razor knife blades should never be used to remove burr.
  9. After all 4 edges have been de-burred, take the fine side of the large stone and lightly polish the entire length of the blade, followed by burring.
  10. After the final polishing and edging procedure, the skates are now sharp and ready to use.

Checking the Rocker

Should be done only with coaches’ instruction.

  • The rocker of the skate is the amount that the blade deviates from being perfectly flat. A short track skate has a larger rocker than a long track skate.
  • Holding both skates together by the blades, they should contact each other for about 1”.
  • The high point of the blade should be directly under the center of gravity of the skater when they are in skating position. This point is about 1/3 of the distance forward between front & back cups.