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Below are some of the frequent questions parents with skaters moving into STARSkate have. If you have any additional questions, please contact LeeAnne Cross, HSC Director of Development  at or your skater's private coach.

What is STARSkate?
STARSkate is Skate Canada’s Figure Skating program. It stands for Skills, Tests, Achievements, Recognition. STARSkate is where skaters learn figure skating specific skills, take figure skating tests, and compete at regional competitions. From STARSkate, skaters can choose to move into the Competitive stream where they will focus on competing at a national level

Skating disciplines (freeskate, skills, dance) are divided into levels labelled STAR 1-10 with set requirements for each level.

Who is a private coach?
Private coaches are Skate Canada Certified Professional Coaches. They are trained and registered with Skate Canada and complete a background screening and first aid certification every 3 years.

How do fees work?
Fees paid to clubs cover ice, club led activities (i.e. stroking & off-ice), and other required registration fees (i.e. Skate Canada registration). Coaching is paid directly to your private coach. 

Will my skater be with his/her coach for the entire ice time for a session?
No. STARSkate requires skaters to work on their own approximately half of the time they are on the ice. STARSkaters start to train this skill in STARSkate Development and better hone it with help from their coach. Coaches teach skaters how to read the session schedule, how to read the discipline boards and give them personalized lists when needed. 

Can I set a lesson budget?
Absolutely. Most new parents wait a few months to get a better idea of what a bill is like and to give time for the coach to make sure enough time is given to the skater so that s/he feels comfortable on the ice. 

What is the approximate coaching bill amount?
The total is based on a few factors:

  • How many days/week your skater skates
  • How many other skaters your coach has on the session
  • The level of your skater
  • Your coaches’ rate (on average ranges from $20-$50/hr)

Coaches understand that being involved in skating adds a new expense for parents. They do their best to do semi-private lessons as much as possible. This helps maximize lesson time while keeping the cost to you as low as possible (for example: In a 30 minute semi-private lesson with one other person, your skater would get 30 minutes of lesson, but only pay for 15 minutes). A rough estimate would be $50-$150/month. You speak to your coach directly if you would like to set a budget. 

How do I pay my private coach?
Your coach will bill you directly at the end of each month. They will specify if there is a payment type they prefer but most take cash, cheque or etransfer. If you require a different billing or payment schedule, you can speak to your coach. 

What equipment is needed for STARSkate?

  1. Figure skates suitable for entry level jumps up to an axel. Talk to your coach for recommendations on where to go for fittings
  2. A towel to properly dry skates after each session
  3. Soft guards to protect the blade while inside the skater’s bag
  4. Hard guards to wear when walking around off the ice
  5. Multiple pairs of gloves and/or mittens
  6. Appropriate skating clothing (ie. Yoga pants, no hoodies)
  7. Skipping rope to do a proper off-ice warm-up
  8. Competition clothes (dress, jumpsuit, skating pants, appropriate shirt, etc.) will be needed eventually but isn’t an immediate necessity to join the program. Your coach will give you more direction when the time comes

What does a STARSkate session look like?
STARSkate sessions are divided into specific times for the disciplines of skating – skills, dance, spins, freeskate, and an additional time for stroking. This is done to help the skaters manage their time, especially when they aren’t with their coach. 

What are the StarSkate Academy levels at HSC

working on Star 1-3 Passed a minimum of 2 Star 3+ assessments Passed a minimum of two Star 6+ assessments
and/or no Axel Working on Star 4/6/Pre-Juvenile Star 6+/Juvenile+
  and/or working on Axel and low double jumps Working on all doubles and triples
  High Silver: Silver requirements and landing at least 1 double and/or working
on Star 7+ dance and/or skills
High Gold: Gold  requirements and landing at least 3 double and/or passed a minimum 1 GOLD test


How do the skating seasons work?
Figure Skating is divided into 3 seasons:

  • Fall/Winter – early September to late March
  • Spring – early April to mid June
  • Summer – early July to late August

Although it is surprising to many, figure skating does continue through summer and is an incredibly important training time. Skaters attend up to 5 days in a row which is invaluable for muscle memory development. Unlike fall/winter and spring, summer is divided into weeks instead of one large season. This allows for skaters to continue with their training while still being able to have a life outside of the rink.

What is a program (solo or routine) and when will my skater get one?
A program (occasionally referred to as a solo our routine) is what you see skaters do on TV. Your skater will get their own piece of music (with selection help from your coach) and specific choreography. Skaters will need a program when they get to the STAR 2 level, but may get one before based on your coach’s recommendation. 

When do Assessments happen?
STAR 1-5 assessments are done by your coach. STAR 1-4 assessments are done on one of your skater’s regular sessions. STAR 5 assessments are done on empty ice. This may happen during one of your skater’s regular sessions, or your coach will arrange separate ice. 

STAR 6-10 are  assessed by trained Skate Canada evaluators at a special  Assessments day. Assessment Days generally happen one or twice per season with your coach giving you notice of the exact day at least a month prior to the Test Day.

When do competitions happen?
There are 2 levels of  competitions for all STARSkate levels in Nova Scotia Star 1-3/4 events and Star 4+ competitions.. The exact location for these competitions can change from year to year.

 Star 1 - 4 events 

  • Early December
  • Mid Feb
  • Mid March
  • Ealy April

Star 4/ Star 5+ and Competitive Pathways

  • Fall Skate – mid-October
  • Rob McCall Memorial – Mid November
  • STARSkate Provincials – late February/ Earmy March
  • Atlantic Skating Championship – early April (the top 6 skaters of STAR 5+ from NS, NB, NFLD & PEI)

What are some of the terms I will hear a lot?

The discipline that includes jumps, spins and a skater’s program. 

The discipline that brings ballroom dance on the ice. Skaters will learn pre-set dances to specified music.

The discipline that covers edges, turns, and basic skating skills. 

A group practice generally done at the end of a session. It is led by a professional coach and focuses on basic skating development and cardio. 

A term that covers any group of moves from the disciplines of skating (i.e. the required jumps, spins and other moves for a program are called elements). 

Short for Program Assistant, PAs are trained skaters who volunteer on CanSkate. 

Skate Canada
Skate Canada is the governing body of professional skating development in Canada. Halifax Skating Club is a Skate Canada sanctioned club and delivers programs that adhere to their delivery requirements and standards.

 How to purchase Drop in session for Academy Programs 

- must be purchased by NOON the day before the session.
- Go to registration page and select the session you wish to purchase.
- select date of drop in (individual) session from the drop down menu and select the skater.
-complete the check out process 

Club sessions are NOT Ticket ice Purchases. 
Ticket Ice is arranged with your private coaching team.  Ticket Ice is tracked and then billed monthly. Please pay in a timely manner