Sports

Stick curling arrives in Castlegar

Alex Bojey is in the know when it comes to the rules for stick-curling. - Barb Sinclair
Alex Bojey is in the know when it comes to the rules for stick-curling.
— image credit: Barb Sinclair

It’s a new way of curling - a new way of being able to get involved. Friday morning, December 7, was the first ever Stick Curling mini spiel in Castlegar. It is a more inclusive way to curl that is hitting rinks across the nation. Although it's been going on in Ontario for a while, like everything else, it takes a while for new ways of doing things to catch on.

Bob Maloff, manager of the Castlegar Curling Club, pointed out the stick curling expert, and long-time curler, Alex Bojey, who is well-versed in the rules. “First of all,” says Bojey, “there’re only two players on a team of stick curling, and it’s very popular right through Canada – in fact, there’s a bonspiel, The Canadian Open Stick Curling in Ontario next April 13th, 2013.” Continues Bojey, “Anybody can join in – it’s quite different from the regular game. In a regular game you have four players and they all throw two rocks. In this game you only have two players, one at each end; like, ‘the team’ is only two people…and they play against another couple. And instead of throwing two rocks like a regular game, they throw (or push) six rocks and the game lasts six ends. Nobody walks back and forth (between the ends, as in regular curling). The only thing going back and forth is the rock. Also, the game is much faster, but you score the same way.”

And, importantly, it’s a much safer way of curling, especially with older people. But if anyone, young or experienced, has had hip or knee or foot trouble, this is an excellent way to go. As regards equipment, you only need grippers on your shoes, no sliders needed, which greatly lessens the chances of dropping to the ice.

Says Alex of the game, “We’re actually making history here today in Castlegar. It’s a better game for people who find it hard to get down on the ice…and people in wheelchairs can easily play this game – now they’re included. So, we’ll try it out and see what happens. Today we have 18 players. If interest continues, we might try to have it one day a week.”

There are tryouts for B.C. now, too, with this new format - a team from Armstrong won the Canadian Open in 2011.

Just for the record, the game called Sturling is the same kind of game but slightly different rules, ie, the whole team is not held to everyone using the stick; it can have various combinations of sticks and regular throwing. Also, equipment would be different.

Like anything new, people need to try out improved ways and ideas or they won’t continue. This new way of curling seems like it would be an obvious way to go. On this morning it was the guys who wholeheartedly showed up – not a gal in sight, but it is very beneficial for all. At the moment though, it is the men who largely use the stick, with only one woman preferring it.

Says Alex “I have a sore knee, so that’s why I use the stick – it’s the only way I go now.”

For more information, phone Bob Maloff at the Castlegar Curling Club, 250-365-6666.

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