Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey Frequently Asked Questions

Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey Frequently Asked Questions

Jan 04 2021

Have questions about South Suburban's comprehensive Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey programs? Learn more about classes, choosing the right level and more in these FAQs. 

Choosing a class

What level should I register my child for?
Level classes are for 7 - 17-year-olds and Pre-classes are for 4-6 year-olds. If your child has never skated or is really new to ice skating, he/she should start in Level 1, Hockey 1, Pre 1 or Hockey Pre 1.

What's the difference between Level 1, 2, 3 and Hockey 1, 2, 3 or Pre 1, 2, 3 or Hockey Pre 1, 2, 3?
There is no difference. It is exactly the same curriculum. If a Hockey Pre 1 is full and there is a Pre 1 at or near the same time, that class can be recommended.

Is the Level 3 curriculum and the Pre 3 curriculum the same?
No, the older skaters (Level 3) will cover more skills in each level as they typically have better motor skills than the younger skaters.

What is Mighty Mites and when can my skater go into it?
Mighty Mites is an instructional hockey program for 4-6-year-olds who have passed Pre 2 or Hockey Pre 2. Mighty Mites teaches skating skills and fundamental hockey skills. Part of the class includes fun scrimmaging.

My child just wants to play hockey. Why does he have to take skating lessons?
The sport of hockey requires the skater to be able to skate forwards and backward and to stop, turn and change direction in order to play the game. The shooting and stick handling will come later.

My child is almost four years old. Can he go into a Pre 1 class?
If he/she is within three months of turning four, or will turn four during the session, then you can override the age for the Pre 1. If the child is not able to follow instructor's instructions, we may request that they wait to register again or register in the Parent/Tot class.

My skater passed Pre 4 and has not turned 7 years old. Where can I put the skater?
A skater who is not yet 7 years old but has passed Pre 4 can go into a Level 3.

I am not sure of my skater's level. He took classes a while ago at a different program or is switching from inline skating. How should I place him and what if he is not in the right level?
Contact the skating director, Gerry Lane (at GerryL@ssprd.org), to determine an appropriate level. If you register him for the wrong level, the instructors will make an evaluation and recommend that the skater is moved up or down as necessary.

My child and I want to do Parent/tot class; however, I can't skate.
The Parent/Tot Ice Skating class instructor will help you as well as your child. You do not have to be proficient at all. You are there mostly to stay connected with your child and to offer encouragement to your child and support the instructor.

Registration and pricing

Why are some days of the week or sessions more expensive?
We start classes every two months, January, March, May, July, September and November. Not all sessions have an equal number of lessons. Some sessions have nine Mondays, but only eight Wednesdays, so that is why the classes are priced differently. Some winter sessions, for instance, are even shorter due to school breaks.

Can I register during the third week of class and have it pro-rated?
A skater who shows up on the third week of class can be a distraction to the other students as he/she has missed skills that have been previously introduced, and require the instructor to review that material, instead of moving the rest of the class ahead. We do allow skaters to join during the second week since our class sessions are 8 - 9 weeks long.

Do I get free skate rental?
Skate rental is an additional charge. Resident: $2.50/Nonresident: $3.50 each time. We encourage skaters to purchase their own skates when they get more serious about their skating as it does make a big difference in support and balance.

Class times, make-up and equipment

How long are the classes?
Most classes are 30 minutes in length and they meet once a week. The Mighty Mites and Hockey 4-6 classes are 50-60 minutesm which is why they are more expensive.

What time should we arrive?
We always encourage skaters to arrive 30 minutes early for their first class in order to get properly sized and fitted in their rental skates and to get dressed properly. All Pre 1, Hockey Pre 1, Level 1, Hockey 1, Parent/Tot and Adult Beginner classes meet their instructor generally in the lobby area with their skates on the first and sometimes the second week, and then proceed to the ice. All other classes will meet their instructor on the ice by their designated colored signs. The colored sign assignment is on a bulletin board adjacent to the front desk at the arenas.

When are Mighty Mites classes offered?
We offer Mighty Mites at the Sports Complex on Saturday mornings, and at Family Sports on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon. There are no slots available for this program in the evenings at either facility as the youth hockey, girls hockey, high school hockey, figure skating and adult hockey leagues take all available slots.

What kind of equipment does my skater need for Hockey 1, 2 or 3?
We recommend warm clothing, gloves and a helmet of some kind for the beginning levels. We have skates for rent for an additional charge and bike helmets to rent if they forget their helmet. Skaters who enter Hockey 4-6 and Mighty Mites will need full hockey equipment. 

We are going to miss a class on Saturday, can my skater do a make-up on a different date?
The skating director will try to accommodate you if there is space on a different day. There are no guarantees as some levels do get quite full especially during the busier winter months. You must contact the skating director at GerryL@ssprd.org about make-ups. 

Other questions

What's the purpose of the lanyards that the instructor hands out during the first week?
They allow the skater to practice during a Public Session on the day of their lesson or on any other day if there is no Public Session associated with their class time. The lanyards also aid the instructors by helping skaters get to the appropriate class, as the lanyard has the skater's instructors name on it. The lanyards are accepted at both the Family Sports Center and Sports Complex.

How can I find out who the instructor is for the next session?
The instructors can change their availability from season to season. The coaches also are rotated from level to level each session and they do not get their new assignments until the week before a new session of classes.

Where is Gerry Lane's office? 
Gerry has an office at both ice facilities. At the South Suburban Sports Complex, his office is located on the lower level. At the Family Sports Center, it is on the second floor on the Hamilton Rink-side.