The first meet a skater attends can be a bit overwhelming! Hopefully, this summary will help prepare you.
The meet begins with an early morning warm up on the ice at a designated time for all skaters. Skaters are divided into ability groups (Divisions), and each group has up to 15 min on ice warm-up. It is important to be at the rink at least 45 min before the designated ice time so that the skater has time to find their change room, warm up, and get on all of their gear. Warm ups are used to get the skater familiar with the skating venue and get prepared to race; Locating the team change room, on/off the ice door, coaches area, officials area, how big the ice surface is, and wake up! As well, each skater gets the chance to get dressed to ensure that they have all of their protective gear required. YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO RACE IF YOU ARE MISSING SOME GEAR. This gives you a chance to borrow some missing gear!
Skaters are placed in divisions according to their age and ability (times from previous meets). Each skater will receive a ‘helmet cover’ with a unique number. Each racer is identified by this number throughout the competition. The coaches will have a copy of these lists, and they will be posted throughout the arena. A schedule of races for the day(s) will also be posted. Depending on the type of meet, and the number of competitors, each skater will have anywhere from 2-6 races/day. Results will be posted after each race. Make sure to record your child’s race times in each distance that they skate.
Locate your skater’s name and helmet number, record the Division and race numbers. Your skater’s division and helmet number will not change throughout the meet. Each meet will be different though.
Prior to each race the skaters are called by the Clerk of the Course to line up for their race. It is the skater’s responsibility to be paying attention to the Clerk and have all of his/her equipment on and be ready to skate when called. As no one can predict the exact length of each race it is very difficult to say exactly when a skater will race or when the breaks will be. The number of the race in progress is often displayed on the scoreboard. Older skaters should know what their next race number is from the posted schedule and make sure that they are getting their gear on several races in advance. A parent or volunteer will assist younger skaters so that they do not miss their races.
Sometimes, the last races of the meet are the relays. During the day the racers will be divided into relay teams based on ability and/or times in a specific race, at which point the groupings will be posted.
During the meet water is poured on the track to help maintain the ice between floods. If a skater falls he/she can get quite cold and wet. Therefore, it is important to bring extra skating clothes to the meet. Don’t forget extra socks and underwear! A blow-dryer is useful for quickly drying out some of the gear.
Arenas tend to be cold, so make sure to dress warmly, in layers. Bring blankets and cushions to sit on. Bring lunch and lots of snacks. Although many arenas have concessions, they often serve mostly high fat foods which can slow the athlete down. Wait until the end of the day for a concession treat. There is lots of down time during the day, so make sure that your skater brings some things to keep themselves entertained.
Cheer on your fellow Blizzard members!
Don’t forget to hand in your helmet cover at the end of the day. You will get a different number at the next competition.