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    CURLING: The Game For All Ages and Abilities


 The following information is provided for Net "SWEEPERS" who are unfamiliar with curling.  Although the descriptions are brief and simplified, they give an insight into one of the fastest-growing sports in the world.


Curling the world over is guided by a code of conduct unlike that found in any other type of athletic competition. A sense of personal integrity dominates all aspects of the game, and culminates in the "comradeship" shared by winners and losers alike, in the Club lounge, after each match. These sentiments have been recorded by the Canadian Curling Association as an Official Supplement to the Rules of the Game :

  • I will play the game with a spirit of good sportsmanship.
  • I will conduct myself in an honourable manner both on and off the ice.
  • I will never knowingly break a rule but if I do, I will divulge the breach.
  • I will take no action which could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate or demean my opponents, team-mates or officials.
  • I will interpret the rules in an impartial manner always keeping in mind that the purpose of the rules is to ensure that the game is played in an orderly and fair manner.
  • I will humbly accept any penalty which the governing body, at all levels of curling, deems appropriate, if I am found in violation of the Code of Ethics or Rules of the Game.



A sheet of curling ice is dimensioned at 138 ft x 14 ft ( approx. 42.5 m x 4.3 m ). Unlike hockey ice, the curling surface is carefully groomed by frequent burning and shaving to keep it perfectly level. Before each game, a light spray of water droplets is applied to the surface and immediately freezes in place as a fine pebble. It is on this pebble that curling stones ride easily and react predictably to a player's delivery.



are made from one of several types of shock-absorbing granites quarried in various parts of the world. Each piece of granite is carefully machined and balanced, and a goose-neck handle is added for the player's convenience. The result is a standard 42 to 44 pound (approx. 19.1 kg to 20 kg) rock, with a diameter of 1 foot (30.5 cms.) and a height of 4.5 inches (11.5 cms.), not including handle. (Synthetic "rocks" of lesser weights are now being produced for the increasing number of younger curlers, aged 6 to 12 years, who are getting involved in the game.)


Broom and brush diagrams under construction !

The use of brooms and brushes came about because curling was first played out-of-doors on frozen rivers and lakes. When a player delivered a stone, his team-mates cleared the snow from its path by brooming or brushing! The practice continues today, even on indoor ices, because it has been found that sweeping in front of a running rock causes it to go straighter and / or farther.


Team photo under construction (if we can ever get the guys out of the lounge)!

A curling team consists of four players: the first player of the group is called the Lead, the second player is appropriately known as the Second, and the third is called (you guessed it) the Third, or the Vice (-skip) or the Mate. The Fourth, known as the Skip, is the captain of the team. He / she directs the strategy of the game and calls the shots.


A curling game is played according to the following procedures : ( See also RULES )

  • The Skips of Teams A and B position themselves at the far end of the ice.
  • At the near end, the Vices of Teams A and B flip a coin to determine which foursome will start first.

Let's say Team A loses the toss ...

  • Team A's Skip moves into the house (circles, rings) at the far end, and calls for the first stone from Lead A.
  • Lead A throws from the hack at the near end of the ice with the intent that the rock will come to rest at the far end position called by the Skip.
  • The stone must be released by the Lead before it crosses the nearest hog line, and be allowed to run freely on its path.
  • Team A's Second and Vice may help to control the path of the stone by sweeping (brooming, brushing) , in front of it.

After Lead A's first rock comes to a halt ...

  • Team B's Skip takes over in the house and calls Lead B's first shot.

When Lead B's stone comes to rest ...

  • Skip A takes the house again to call Lead A's second rock.

Play continues in this alternating manner, until all members of both teams have delivered their two rocks.

At this point, the first "end" of play has been completed and the score is tallied (See OBJECT of the GAME, below). The team that posts a score in the end must then throw the first rock of the next end. The next and subsequent ends are played by simply delivering back to the opposite house.

An end of play normally takes about 15 minutes. The number of ends per game has varied greatly since the inception of the sport ( See HISTORY). Nowadays, a regular game, played for enjoyment and sociability, has eight ends. A competitive game, played for titles and prizes, normally has ten. Extra ends are added to break ties that may exist after regulation play.


The object of the game is to complete each end with as many of your team's rocks closer to the button than the nearest of your opponent's stones. Scores are awarded as one point for each such rock.


It isn't as complicated as it may seem! To get a better idea of the game, talk with curlers at a club near you, or watch any bonspiels (competitions) that might be televised on your local channels. If you have access to neither of these sources of curling information but you still want to learn more, contact the author at any of the addresses below.


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