A new variation of an old sport is sweeping the nation. And the Comox Valley appears next in line to join the movement.
Stick curling is a game played on ice requiring hand-eye coordination. A game of skill, strategy and some luck but above all, it’s a game of fun. It’s a game that’s played by people of both genders and all ages, well into their 80s and 90s. It can be recreational or competitive depending on how much time you want to devote to the sport.
Stick curling has found a niche with those traditional curlers who can no longer get down into the hack because of knee, back, heart, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, and ankle or foot problems.
“People are curling now that haven’t for years and they are having a good time. It is a lot of fun. It keeps people in the game,” says Jackie Jackson, who is spearheading efforts to have the sport included as part of the seniors league at the Comox Valley Curling Club.
Jackson says the sport is extremely popular right across Canada, and is confident it will catch on here once more people are aware of it. She notes the stick was invented and refined by curlers who loved the game and wanted to continue to play without using a traditional slide delivery. The stick extends from a curler’s hand and attaches to the rock handle, enabling the curler to deliver a rock from a standing or sitting (in a wheelchair) position.
Each stick curling team is comprised of two curlers. One member of each team stays at each end of the rink. Sweeping/brushing is allowed from the hog line to the back line. The two delivering curlers alternately deliver six stones each per end, while their teammates skip that end. Then roles are reversed.
All games are six ends and usually take an hour to complete.
Jackson notes the equipment required is simple and inexpensive. There are several different sticks available at varying costs. Curling or regular shoes with no heels, fitted with double grippers, are a must.
“This is a great way to meet new people and see if you like this way of curling. It’s also advantageous for newcomers to curling, since the complex technique of the slide delivery doesn’t exist; yet the substantial mental aspects of the game are retained,” Jackson noted in an article she wrote for the CVCC.
“With no sweeping/brushing allowed between the hog lines, this provides fairness to those unable to sweep/brush. It also increases the challenge, not having the advantage of sweeping/brushing to affect either line or weight in the initial travel of the stone.
“Our game can be enhanced by seniors continuing to curl, as well as utilizing their experiences to coach newer curlers,” Jackson added. Those interested in learning more about the game are welcome to contact Jackson at 250-871-6334.
More information about stick curling can be found online at canadianstickcurling.ca and sturling.net.