My New Normal

Hi it’s Heather from Skate Helper. Like many small businesses my business has slowed considerably and understandably so. My manufacturer is closing temporarily and my customers have done the same.

I would like to say to all small businesses have faith and believe these difficult times will come to an end. Now is the time to focus on your health, your family and to be kind.

My husband Tony and I are at home with our two kids and like many families are trying to stick to a schedule and stay positive.

We decided that Tony should be the only person to go out and grocery shop. We have a dog Fritz who helps us remember to relax, and live in the moment. We take long daily walks and have kept busy planning meals and cooking together. The snow is melting so the bikes will be coming out soon. The basketball hoop is up in the driveway and the yoga mats are ready to go in the basement. Online schooling looks like it may be more of an option now so that helps parents everywhere.

Have Faith

This isolation is economically hard on everyone. For me, it has forced us to slow down and think about what is really important.

I have faith in government to figure this out. Many are unemployed and in need of financial assistance and I believe the government will find solutions. We could not stay in our homes and be safe if it weren’t for all the health care workers, first responders, essential service workers and all the workers whose services we perhaps took for granted in the past. We need to acknowledge all the workers that continue to do the critically important work that make our lives as normal as possible.

I think it’s important to remember that the World Health Organization says those who become infected generally experience mild illness and recover in about two weeks.

We Are In This Together

Tough days ahead for sure, but remember that you are not alone in this. Everyone is being affected in some way.

I want to thank all of my customers and the businesses that I work with. I look forward to working with you again when we are back up and running at our usual pace. We are all in this together and we will get through this together.

Stay Safe and Be Kind.

Heather at Skate Helper.

Creative Ways to Stay Busy

Right now, it’s mandatory that we slow down and relax. Staying at home and spending time with family will make all of us reflect and think about what is important.

To help navigate these unfamiliar circumstances and take everyone’s mind off the hourly news updates, we suggest tapping into your creativity. You don’t have to be creative, it’s fun, and may help you and your family see the world in a different way.

I have a nine and fourteen year-old and here’s how we are being creative in our home.

  1. We brainstormed what things we would like to do over the next few weeks. In ten minutes, we came up with 53 great ideas. Remember that brainstorming is all about generating ideas, so no idea is a bad idea…anything goes.
  2. We are meal planning and cooking together. We never had the time to do that before. My son and daughter have baked brownies together and want to bake more regularly.
  3. Each of us are writing in our journals daily. We want to capture how we are feeling and what we are doing each day.
  4. We set aside time everyday to read.
  5. We are walking for at least an hour every day. Walking in nature is a great way to recharge, get exercise and appreciate your surroundings.
  6. We listen to our CD collection (yup we still have them). My kids are interested in learning about The Jackson 5, The Beatles, Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen. They are interested in what concerts we’ve attended and leads to great discussion.
  7. We’ve started playing cards after dinner.
  8. We dug out the Monopoly, backgammon, chess and crib boards.

When you actually have the time to slow down and think about what you would like to do there are loads of ideas. Make lemonade out of lemons.

Stay healthy and be safe.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

From Heather at Skate Helper.


Who is Making Ice Skating more Accessible?

Conway Arena

There are many barriers to ice skating whether it’s cost, mobility issues or just being afraid to try it.  For many people ice skating is just something they read about or see when they watch television.  Today, more and more arenas are offering adaptive skating programs. Once such arena is Conway Arena in New Hampshire where the Adaptive Adults Skating Program uses the skate helpers regularly.

First Stride Program

The Chicago Blackhawks introduced their First Stride program two years ago and the results have been amazing.  Their goal is to offer every school within a two-mile radius of the Fifth Third Arena the chance to come and learn how to skate and also learn in the classroom about S.T.E.M ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).  Over 113,000 kids go through the program every year.  For many families skating and hockey is just not available or affordable. The Blackhawks offer skate helpers to those kids who may feel scared their first time on the ice.

The Adaptive Sports Program at Franciscan Children’s

This program provides children with special needs the opportunity to participate in sports and active recreation in a fun and safe environment. The Program promotes the learning of new skills, social opportunities and moderate to vigorous physical activity to maintain and improve health and fitness. The program takes place at the Boston Bruins Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, MA.

Lern more about this adaptive sports program by watching here:

My first winter in Ottawa

New to East Coast Winters

My family and I decided to move from Richmond, BC to Ottawa, ON this past summer.  We moved 13,000 pounds of stuff across the country. So far Ottawa has been very pleasant. Summer and fall were beautiful and now we are emersed in winter.

My kids are excited about the snow. I bought a parka at Costco, snow tires are on, and my skates are sharpened. Winter is lovely if you dress for it- ( I say this now without having experienced minus 20 or freezing rain) – but winter is a season that should be embraced and enjoyed.

The Rideau Canal

My family and I will be enjoying  the Rideau Canal with our skates and skate helpers. I’m just getting back into skating so I will use two skate helpers stacked together to get my balance and gain my confidence on the ice. We are all very excited about outdoor skating.

The Rideau Canal is Canada’s largest outdoor skating rink and is nearly 7.5 kilometres or 5 miles long. The naturally frozen canal is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is usually open January to March. It’s free, just need to bring your own skates or rent them from a hut along the banks.

Another skating spot we will try within a 45-minute drive from Ottawa is a 3-kilometre ice trail through the forest in Gatineau. There’s a heated building on site where you can lace up your skates, and rest areas along the trail where you can sit back and enjoy the scenery, birds and squirrels.

The Bentway

The Bentway is another great location for skating, it transforms into a uniquely urban winter wonderland with the opening of the 220 metre skate trail open seven days a week from 12 – 9 p.m.

An on-site winter village will offer hot chocolate and both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for skaters and spectators, while warming stations will help visitors get toasty before getting back on the ice.

Can’t skate? No problem! The Bentway will offer recurring free skate lessons for kids and adults. On-site skate rentals are available daily along with skate helpers.

The Bentway Skate Trail continues from January 6 to February 17, 2020 with amended weekday hours.

I look forward to discovering outdoor skating in Ottawa and Toronto this winter season.

Enjoy your winter  – get out and move!

Happy Trails from Heather at Skate Helper.

Girl skating with the skate helper skating aid

The Chicago Blackhawks Fifth Third Arena Fest features new Skate Helpers

The Chicago Blackhawks know how to treat their fans. They spend a lot of time in the community connecting with them. The Chicago Blackhawks also purchased a number for Skate Helpers for fans to use who don’t know how to skate.

Upcoming events include The Chicago Blackhawks and Fifth Third Bank inviting fans and community members to “Fifth Third Arena Fest,” which is a celebration of the new partnership with the team’s official practice facility and community rink. The event will be
held on Monday, May 6 from 3-6pm. This family fun event will include skating, games and giveaways.

In June, the Blackhawks will host HockeyFest – Game On! , the world’s largest street hockey tournament, on the United Center campus parking lots from June 22-23, 2019. With more than 30 divisions ranging across age, gender and skill level, hockey players
of all ages, including adults, are invited to participate.

The 12th annual Blackhawks Convention, presented by Magellan Corporation, will be held from July 26-28, 2019, at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave, Chicago). The event, which has sold out every year, will feature both current Blackhawks players
and alumni throughout the weekend and include numerous autograph and photo sessions, Q&A panels, exhibits, interactive games and much more. Blackhawks players, coaches, executives and alumni are expected to attend.