State order delays start of sturling season

Pop Whalen Ice and Arts Arena will remain closed until at least October 29 under an order from Governor Chris Sununu that prohibits indoor on-ice activities in response to COVID-19 infections among youth hockey players.

On Thursday, October 15, Governor Chris Sununu issued an executive order closing all ice rinks in the state of New Hampshire for a period of at least two weeks.

Although the order was prompted by an increase of COVID-19 infections among youth hockey players, the effect has been to shut down all on-ice activity for the two-week period. This includes the start of the LRCA’s scheduled Fall 2020 sturling league.

Consequently, organizers are now planning for a six-week sturling league, with the first matches scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 1. At the moment, there are no other changes to  plans for the league. There will still be a bye week during Thanksgiving weekend, and the last matches of the season will be played on Sunday, Dec. 13.

Rebates for the missed weeks will be offered to registrants at the end of the season.


With an eye to better distancing for the Fall, LRCA goes with a ‘sturling’ program

Whether you deliver by stick or slide, there’s a place for you in sturling.

In place of standard four-on-four curling, Lakes Region Curling will run a sturling program this Fall in order to provide a less-congested playing environment.

Sturling is a variation of curling that involves teams of two instead of four. During a match, one player from each team stands at opposing ends of the curling sheet. Sweeping is limited, and players never cross the middle of the sheet.

Each match involves six ends rather than the traditional eight, and play involves only 12 stones, not 16. During each end, only two players deliver stones; they alternate throwing six stones apiece while their partners act as sklps. During the next end, players reverse roles.

By the completion of a match, each player will have delivered stones in three ends — six stones each time, for a total of 18 stones over the course of the match. This compares with 16 stones over eight ends in a standard curling match.

Sturling reduces the number of players on the ice by at least half, and the limited sweeping reduces the exertion required during a match. The game provides more opportunity than a standard curling match to develop throwing skills. It also gives every player the chance to learn and develop in the role of skip.

Rules of the game can be found here.

LRCA sturling matches will take place on Sunday evenings, with a first session scheduled for 4:50 p.m. Matches will last an hour, and teams will be randomly assigned each week. This will provide an opportunity to play with and against members of all skill levels and to emphasize the LRCA’s focus on having a good time during these trying times.

The season will run for eight weeks, from Oct. 18 to Dec. 13, with a week off for Thanksgiving.

If the number of registrations is sufficient, a second one-hour session will begin at 6 p.m. When registering, curlers should indicate their preference for playing during the first or second session. Every effort will be made to accommodate players’ preferences, but registration is first come, first served.

Points for wins and ties will be awarded to individual players rather than teams, and the end-of-season championship will recognize players with the highest scores.

Cost of the eight-week season is reduced to $175, and all registration and waiver forms are available on the LRCA web site. Curlers are urged to register early and to provide all required forms. Registrations missing any required documents will be held up.

In keeping with state and local protocols, curlers will be required to wear masks and observe social distancing while in Pop Whalen ice arena. Rules for the use of the arena are intended to keep participants from different programs such as hockey and public skating from mixing with curlers. The arena will also undertake enhanced cleaning to reduce health risks from preceding uses.

LRCA members urged to join Annual Meeting Zoom call on Aug. 24, offer input to Fall plans

Lakes Region Curling Association is set to hold its Annual Meeting for members on Monday, Aug. 24, at 7 p.m. via Zoom link. The brief session lets organizers update the membership on the organization’s finances and future plans as well as providing an opportunity to choose members of the Board of Directors.

All members are encouraged to participate in this brief session. Given the uncertainty surrounding indoor activities in the coming months, the meeting will provide an opportunity for the LRCA board to explain any plans that have been made and to take questions and input that members may have.

A link for the Zoom call will be emailed in mid-August to all members who have expressed an interest in participating in the Annual Meeting.

The meeting will also have on the agenda two important changes to the organization’s bylaws. One will change the membership year to July 1 – June 30, to correspond to the LRCA’s newly updated fiscal year. The second change will allow the Board of Directors to set the date of the Annual Meeting to a time in the winter, when curling is taking place and the organization has a full complement of members.

A link for the Zoom call will be emailed in mid-August to all members who have expressed an interest in participating in the Annual Meeting. A number of members have already indicated their intention to participate, and those people should have received an acknowledgement of their request. Anyone who has not received that acknowledgement should send a note to Rich Masse at

Anyone who has not yet indicated an interest in participating but who would like to do so can use this link. This will bring up our standard contact form, which can be used to request the Annual Meeting link.

For more information, contact Rich Masse at

Fall plans still unfolding

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all walks of life, and curling is no exception. While the incidence of the virus in New Hampshire is well below that of other parts of the country, caution is still the watchword.

A survey of LRCA members in July showed about 70 percent of respondents indicating that they would be likely to register for a Fall season in which rules of play would require social distancing, the use of masks, and changes to the game, such as the use of a single sweeper. In all likelihood, the resulting league would operate with fewer teams, and some undermanned legacy teams might need to combine in order to reach playing strength.

In addition, LRCA organizers are considering an alternate, lower-intensity form of the sport called sturling. This involves teams of two playing with six stones for six ends. There is no sweeping. Here’s a link to the rules of the game.

All decisions about a Fall season of any sort depend on the opening of Pop Whalen Ice Arena by Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation. That decision, which will involve the readiness of local schools and hockey organizations to use the facility, has yet to be announced. When it is, the LRCA will notify all members and the local community of its plans.

Team 9 takes the Winter 2020 championship as LRCA ends its fifth year on a sober note

Keith Lion, Blaise Masse, and Doc Dougherty were part of the Winter 2020 championship team.

Team 9 — consisting of Dave Alessandroni, Dan Barnard, Doc Dougherty, Keith Lion, and Blaise Masse — took the Winter 2020 league championship in convincing manner even as the season came to an abrupt halt with the closing of Pop Whalen arena because of Covid-19 fears.

The LRCA was forced to cancel matches for its final week, as well as calling off its end-of-year gathering and awards presentation. It was a sobering end to what was an otherwise outstanding year as the association marked its fifth year of operation with a final surge of new curlers in the winter season.

Team 9 ended the season with an admirable 7-1 record, with its only loss coming on February 9 to Irish Claddaghs, 7-6. While Team 9 played all eight of its scheduled matches, the outcome of the championship race was a foregone conclusion even before the final week’s cancelled contests.

The Winter 2020 season was unusual in that the predictable membership fall-off during the cold months was more than offset by an influx of new curlers, necessitating the fielding of nine teams and the use of a bye week for each squad.

With the end of the winter league, the LRCA completed its fifth year of operation bringing curling to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. A venture that started with the tentative hopes of the five original organizers — Mike Spence, Bud Booth, Hugh Crawford, Carl Crosley, and Rich Masse — took off on the enthusiasm around the impending 2018 Winter Olympics.

Over the years the organization has reached and recruited curling enthusiasts from around the Lakes Region and beyond. Now, with preparations and trials for the 2022 Winter Olympics scheduled to start in 2021, the new year promises a new surge of interest and involvement, and LRCA organizers will be at work over the summer months working on how to get the word out even more about this growing sport.

Dave Alessandroni
Dan Barnard















Wolfeboro Winter Carnival will feature curling open house on Sunday, February 23

Have you found yourself scrolling television channels late in the day and stumbling on a curling match in progress – and have you maybe lingered, mystified by the way a large granite stone can travel a hundred feet with pinpoint accuracy, steered by madly shouting sweepers? Do you know someone who plays on a curling team and is endlessly enthusiastic about the competition, the strategy, and the teamwork?

If so, here’s your chance to find out what the fuss is all about.

Again this year Wolfeboro Winter Carnival, sponsored by the Department of Parks and Recreation, will feature a curling open house at Pop Whalen Ice Arena. The session, which is set for Sunday, Feb. 23, at 2:15 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Members of the Lakes Region Curling Association will be on hand to provide an overview of the game of curling and to offer participants an opportunity to learn scoring and curling skills. Instructions will include an opportunity to try the classic sliding delivery of the curling stone as well as a standing delivery using a specially designed “delivery stick.”

Participants are asked to bring a pair of clean-soled shoes – athletic shoes work well — that they can change into at the rink in order to protect the ice surface from grit and de-icing chemicals found on walkways and parking lots.

For more information about the Olympic sport of curling in general and Lakes Region Curling in particular, see the remainder of this site.

LRCA and Parks offer learn-to-curl classes

Lakes Region Curling and the Wolfeboro Department of Parks and Recreation are again partnering to offer a four-week learn-to-curl class on Wednesday mornings during February.

The program, which is currently registering participants, is open to members of the public who have from zero to two years of curling experience. Sessions will take place on February 5, 12, 19, and 26.

Each weekly class will start at 9:30 a.m. and last an hour and a half. Experienced LRCA curlers will be on hand to provide coaching and organize matches among participants.

Cost of the program is $60.

For information and to register, visit the Parks and Rec web site. Click “Register Now”, then search for “curling,” and finally click “Register” for Learn To Curl–Session 2 on the form.

You will need to have or create an account on the Parks web site to access the registration form.

Fall league sees upstarts make their move

For the last night of the Fall season, curlers joined randomly assigned teams to add a challenge to the evening’s events. Here Denise Cogswell of Wolf Pack prepares to sweep a stone for Dave Alessandroni of Team Nine while Barbara Mosley of On the Rocks awaits her turn.

The Fall 2019 league brought in better than a half-dozen new curlers to already-established teams, and it didn’t take long for the newcomers to make their presence felt.

Both Rock Stars and Team Nine, with three new curlers apiece, as well as a reconstituted Curlin’ Curlers, with newcomer Sharon Greene on board, racked up impressive records, either challenging for top billing or taking down more experienced squads over the course of the season.

Anne Lavin of Rolling Stones displays the curling stone sugar cookies that she baked — after creating the mold for them.

On Team Nine it was veterans Blaise Masse (skip) and Dave Alessandroni teaming up with Keith Lion, Jim McIntyre, and Doc Dougherty. The squad posted a 4-1-2 record and took a close second place in league standings.

Rock Stars, skipped by Chris Johnson with experienced help from Nancy Damboise, was manned by Anne Lavin and John Rochlis of Gilford along with Lily Chalsma, the youngest member of the LRCA. The team knocked On the Rocks from the top of the standings in the last week of regulation play, opening the way for Wolf Pack to take top honors once again.

It’s clear, though, that the competition is getting hotter. Final standings are found here.

The season closed out with the traditional awards get-together at Bayside Grille & Bar in Wolfeboro.

Registration is now under way for the Winter 2020 season, which runs for eight weeks from January 12 to March 8. There is no curling on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2.

The Fall 2019 championship went to Wolf Pack members Shirley Alessandroni, Sue Bennett, Eileen Neal, and Denise Cogswell.


Registration starts for Winter league

Registration has started for Lakes Region Curling’s Winter 2020 league. The season consists of eight Sunday matches, starting on January 12 and running until March 8. No matches are scheduled for February 2, Super Bowl weekend.

Each match, held at Pop Whalen Ice Arena in Wolfeboro, runs for two hours, starting at 5:15 p.m.

The LRCA will offer new players a learn-to-curl session on Sunday, January 5, during which experienced curlers provide instruction in the rules and game play of the sport.

Registration is open to men and women aged 14 or over. No previous experience is required, and participants may join as individuals, with a partner, or as part of a complete team. All equipment is provided, and organizers will assist unaffiliated registrants in finding a team.

Registration fee is $195 per person. Registration forms as well as waiver forms for adults and for minors are available for download from this site.

Sometimes referred to as “chess on ice,” curling originated on the marshes of Scotland in the early 1500s and came to North America with British colonists in the 18th century. First demonstrated at the 1926 Winter Olympics, it became an official Olympic sport in 1998.


LTC class draws 13 future curlers

A collaborative effort between Lakes Region Curling Association and the Wolfeboro Parks and Recreation Department drew a small crowd of curling hopefuls on November 6. The event marked the first session of a four-week learn-to-curl class offered for Lakes Region residents who have from zero to two years of curling experience. The program aims to take the 13 registered participants from the basics of the sport up to high-level skills such as reading the ice and developing offensive and defensive strategies. The hope is that the program, which will be offered again in January and February, can become a feeder system for the LRCA’s regular Fall and Winter leagues. LRCA members providing coaching and support for the effort were Hugh Crawford, Carl and Judy Crosley, Dan Barnard, Wayne McBride, Andrea Dudley, and Rich Masse.