8 Rinks (Burnaby, Metro Vancouver) ice hockey skating lessons review

First published on March 16, 2008

I just finished the 10-week Adult Powerskating & Hockey Skills Level 1 at Burnaby’s 8 Rinks. After 3 years of playing roller hockey, I figured it was time to get some actual lessons on the basics of hockey. Of course, there isn’t a one-to-one transfer of skating skills between ice hockey and roller hockey, but if you can get good at one of them, your game will certainly improve in the other.

Most sessions start at 6 or 7am on weekdays and they run once a week. My teammate and I signed up for the 8am Sunday session (there’s even a 9:30am session on Sundays), which was about $250. The weekday ones are slightly cheaper.

Each lesson was an hour and fifteen minutes. What we covered over the 10 weeks was:

-hockey stance
-forward stride (wide, smooth strides)
-skate edges
-tight turns
-forward crossovers (leaning on edges and weight transfer)
-stopping (edges)
-wrist shot
-slap shot
-backwards skating (posture)
-backwards crossovers
-pivots — transitioning from forward skating to backwards skating and vice versa

There were always very handy and game-applicable drills, with and without the puck. Also, some lessons ended with a 5 to 10 minute scrimmage.

There were two instructors and about 15 participants (although some weeks had as low as 6 people show up). Although most of the instruction and tips are geared towards the group as a whole, the instructors do a good job at helping people out who are having more trouble. The instructors are also open to suggestions for what should be given more focus or what needs more review. The pace seemed just about right, as there were a couple of review weeks sprinkled in. Of course, if you practise on your own in between lessons (if you’re in a league or you just go to a public skate / stick & puck or even roller blade outdoors), you’re likely to pick things up a lot faster.

The most expensive session time works out to about $25 per lesson, which is much more than a $5 stick and puck, but the instruction is well worth it! Also, the facilities at 8 Rinks are top notch.

I got a lot out of those lessons and hopefully the improvement will show when roller hockey starts up. I certainly recommend these lessons to beginner hockey players, rusty players, or simply those who want some ice time to brush up on the basics. There are more advanced sessions available as well. Check the 8 Rinks website for full details.


14 Responses to “8 Rinks (Burnaby, Metro Vancouver) ice hockey skating lessons review”

  1. sean says:

    Hey peter,

    Im 20 years old, just starting ice hockey. Will this course help me skate like a pro if I’m a total beginnner even in skating?

  2. Peter says:

    Skate like a pro after this course alone? No. But it is a great first start.

  3. Rocky says:

    Hey Peter i just want to know im a beginner in skating really beginner
    well i can skate and stop a little bit do u thing this can help me????

  4. Peter says:

    Yes, I think they would help. The first few lessons teaches the basics of strides and turns. Also, although I had played roller hockey before I took these lessons, I was definitely quite bad on skates and hadn’t a clue about how to stop.

  5. david says:

    We’re big family skaters. North and West Vancouver rinks are our stomping ground. Nice staff, wonderful ice, like new skates, and rates (inc rentals) of $2-3.5/person.

    Today Nov 15/08 we visted Kitsilano ice rink. First, the skates were over 10yrs old (staff said 10-20). Second the price inc rental was $5/person. Third the ice was a pool on one end and had holes the size of saucers, an inch deep, the other. My daughter twisted her ankle in one, so we sat down on the team benches. 30 seconds later a rude staff member told us to get out. Why, I asked? In North and West Van public can use the benches beside the ice and moreover for watching young kids (my daughter is 5) the bleachers and the changing area are too far. No, get out they said rudely. Whats the reason I asked? We can’t monitor you they said. Well I can’t mointor my daughter and I doubt you can monitor those bleachers pointing high up. Well its parks board policy she said. Show me the signs staing so, I asked. Oh they’ve been taken down she said. I then demanded a refund, which they refused. I then proceeded to tell them this was the worst service for the highest price for public skating in the lower mainland. They said yes you’re probably right. We will never go again to any Vancouver Parks Board site, and for all Vancouverites and visitors (incl Olympics in 2010) come to the North and West Van rinks. Cheap, friendly and great service!

  6. Simon says:

    Hey Peter,

    Looking for an Adult beginner ice hockey course and found your blog. Do I need full gear for this course? Absolutely new to ice hockey and very limited skating experience… do they teach basic hockey rules and basic intro to the game?

  7. Peter says:

    Hi Simon,

    To make sure, you should call the rink directly. However, I’ll happily provide my thoughts here :) You should have full gear for the course, as there are short scrimmages and flying pucks. During the course I took, we also did some drills that involved battling for the puck along the boards and other similar physical contact. As for hockey rules, the course is dedicated more to technique, and thus any rules learned are incidental. You can certainly ask the coaches your questions about hockey rules during the sessions, but for a full intro I’d do other research, such as online or by watching games on TV. Good luck!

  8. passerby says:

    Speaking from my personal experience, if you’re new to skating and want to play ice hockey, I’d recommend that you take ice skating lessons first and work on strengthening your skating fundamentals and balance.
    Although these courses are entry level courses, if you cannot skate you will struggle with a lot of the drills. It’s not a "learn how to skate" course, it’s a hockey course which does have a level of expectation that you can somewhat skate.
    Don’t get me wrong it was a very good class when I took it. I think I would have gotten more out of it if I had taken baby steps and worked on a better skating foundation first.
    If you’re around Metro Van area, 8-Rinks and Britannia Community Center offer skating lessons which is a great place to start.

  9. steve says:

    my daughter and i want to to take roller hockey lessons or just learn to roller blade either will do since its roller hockey we r after.

    for her it will be actually lerning how to skate as for me i kinda know how to already and want to put that tward goaltendinbg in roller hockey. anyone know a place where they will teach u to skate inline for hockey or regular skating? we r looking for somewhere in surrey.

    [email protected]

    Reply from Peter: I don’t know of such a thing, but if it exists I might also be interested!

  10. Salman says:

    Hey Peter, Im 18 years old started playing hockey when I was 16. My wrist, slap and snap shots are great and I can really shoot the puck. As far as my skating is concerned, its not as good as it should be. I can skate fast and also stop but only to one side which is my right. I find backward crossovers to my right difficult. Will these lessons be beneficial for me?


    Reply from Peter: I’m no hockey expert, but it sounds like level 1 or even level 2 would be beneficial.

  11. The Hockey Community says:

    Hi Peter,

    I made a website which merge all the stick and puck and skating sessions around Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, etc.

    I was so pissed to spend my time to look for them so I made a dynamic platform with all the rinks and hockey sessions:

    Hope it will help!


    Reply from Peter: Nice idea!

  12. Kris says:

    I am looking for a website or sheet with some information regarding stick and pucks in vancouver

  13. Matthew P says: – Vancouver and Lower Mainland Drop-In Hockey Directory

    Very detailed list of drop-in hockey and stick & puck times at ice arenas in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, etc.


  14. Jane says:

    Any suggestions for a 9 year old boy as to how to start hockey now and where? Have we missed the boat?

    Reply from Peter: The course I reviewed might not be the most suitable, but there is usually a large variety of classes starting at different times of the year. I’d suggest contacting your local rinks and/or community centre.

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