The Canskate Program is the second program of the Eckville Figure Skating Club. Control is one of the three main tenants - which focuses on skating backwards. (File Photo)

Learn to Skate program not being offered in Eckville this year

The Eckville Skating Club is still offering its CanSkate and Star Skate programs this season

The Eckville Skating Club will be returning the ice this season with some changes.

The CanSkate program and Star Skate program will be going ahead this year, but the Learn to Skate program will not be offered.

The program, for three- to four-year-olds is meant to build the foundation for future skaters whether they continue in figure skating or move on to play hockey.

“They may choose another sport this year and never return to skating creating less skaters in our CanSkate program next year,” said Shannon Rodney on behalf of the Eckville Figure Skating Board in an email.

The CanSkate program will run on Monday and Wednesday at 4 p.m. with the Star Skate program following at 5 p.m.

The arena has changed the way the ice is paid for switching to hourly fees instead of arena fees and volunteer hours to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

“Our fee schedule that we have decided on is based on 10 skaters, the more skaters the more the fees will decrease,” Rodney explained, adding they have to pay coaches and Skate Canada fees on top of the ice time.

This year’s preliminary fee calculation for the CanSkate program are $590 for 34 one hour sessions. The Star Skate program’s fees will be determined by registration numbers.

“It might look fairly substantial at first but this year we don’t have to complete the volunteer booth hours that we normally do and we are hoping to do some fundraising and are actively looking for sponsors to help lessen the cost of the skating fees,” said Rodney.

Parents are still able to register their kids as the start date has been set back to allow kids more time to settle into school.

Currently the plan is to start skating on Oct. 19.

Rodney says the last few years have seen steady registration numbers, but the board is worried about losing the club if they can’t get enough skaters to run this year.

“I don’t think we could run with any less than 10, unless we end up cutting our ice time or length of our season and we really don’t want to do that,” said Rodney. “We want it to be worthwhile for the kids and for the arena to have us there.”

One of the biggest obstacles this season, according to Rodney, is that a legal guardian has to sign their child into the arena.

Skate Canada is also implementing a mandatory health screen questionnaire which needs to be completed and signed by a parent prior to each training session.

“Many of our skaters come straight from the school or get dropped off by another family member or one mom will pick up three kids from school and bring them to the arena,” continued Rodney.

“I’m sure it will work our in the end it just will take some getting used to.”

In terms of arena etiquette, majority of the new rules are simple and the little club will be able to adapt.

Rodney added it will be different this year as it won’t be able to be used as a social outing for siblings and parents as people won’t be permitted to sit and watch.

Registration or questions about the programs can be directed to the skating club at eckvilleskatingclub@hotmail.com.

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