CanSkate succeeding under COVID restrictions

By Don Fennell

Published 2:22 PST, Mon November 2, 2020

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Following the rules has allowed the Connaught Skating Club to flourish in challenging times.

With COVID-19 guidelines in place, including hand sanitizing stations, wearing masks, and social distancing both on and off the ice, the safety of its members has been ensured. And, as a result, its CanSkate classes have been an undisputed success.

Recently, each class was able to hold its own Halloween celebration, noted CanSkate and StarSkate co-ordinator Louise Kapeikis.

“Skaters were invited to wear costumes to class, and we celebrated with music and socially-distanced games,” she explained. “It was great to see our skaters having fun in a safe environment.”

CanSkate classes are currently offered four days per week, with two classes per day.

For Keegan Murphy, Connaught’s director of skating programs, the success of the CanSkate program in early October reflects the biggest step in the club’s re-opening process. But where there used to be up to 60 skaters on the ice, the number is now limited to just 16.

“It has been a success so far on the ice, and every session is sold out with a wait list,” he noted. “Our co-ordinator, Louise, has done an amazing job keeping all the skaters and coaches space out on the ice. And, meanwhile, also communicating with the parents to answer all their questions. I think everyone is feeling safe and comfortable with our new procedures.”

While the current classes are full, a new season will begin in January with 200 spots available. The program is open to anyone, of any age or skating level, wishing to learn to skate. Classes numbers were arrived at from a set of guidelines administered by Skate Canada, while also recognizing the maximum number set by the City of Richmond.

“Ultimately, we wanted to ensure we could offer quality coaching while keeping good distance between all the children on the ice,” Murphy reiterated. “Health and safety first.”

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