Curlers are returning to a full Fall schedule

After hunkering down for the past year, Lakes Region Curling is up and running for 2021-2022. Registration is now under way for the Association’s Fall 2021 season.

Running from mid-October to mid-December, the Fall season offers eight weekly curling matches at Pop Whalen Ice Arena in Wolfeboro. Matches take place from 5:15 to 7:15 p.m. on Sunday evenings.


LRCA matches put a premium on friendly competition, sportsmanship, and fun. League play 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.

Curling accommodates a variety of playing styles. While some players prefer to use the traditional crouch and slide delivery for the stone, others employ a walking delivery using a “push stick.”

A learn-to-curl clinic for new curlers will be held in early October.

The $195 registration fee defrays the cost of ice time, equipment, and insurance.. Registration forms as well as waiver forms for adults and for minors are available for download from this site.

In a nod to the fact that some things have changed since LRCA members last competed in March 2020, teams in the Fall 2021 league will be limited to four members apiece on the ice for any match, in order to promote better social distancing. The Association will adhere to all state and local health regulations, and LRCA organizers encourage all curlers to be vaccinated for Covid-19.

The Fall league will accommodate a maximum of eight teams, and registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

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.

For information about the ancient sport of curling in general and Lakes Region Curling Association in particular, visit the remainder of the organization’s web site.


Lakes Region sets sights on Fall 2021 return

Lakes Region Curling took a major step towards a return to competition in the coming Fall when it held its recent Annual Meeting. Gathering in a virtual session, members and directors of the organization signaled a strong intention to bring curling matches back to Pop Whalen Ice Arena in Wolfeboro when the facility begins creating ice at the end of the year.

The LRCA’s Winter 2020 season was cut short by the Covid-19-induced shutdown last year, and a prospective Fall 2020 season was called after a spike in cases throughout the Granite State resulted in stringent restrictions on the use of ice arenas. The organization chose to remain dormant for the Winter 2021 season, biding its time for a return to more normal times after widespread vaccinations make the return of group activities safer.

Planning for the Fall curling season will begin in earnest by early summer, with registration opening by late July or early August. For the most current information about LRCA activities, check out the organization’s web site at

With a bow to health concerns, the LRCA cancels its Winter 2021 curling league

With news of the threat posed by COVID-19 growing more concerning by the day, the Board of Directors of Lakes Region Curling Association has reluctantly cancelled plans for a Winter 2021 curling season.

The association had already cancelled the Fall 2020 season after rink closings related to the spread of COVID-19 among hockey players. At the time, LRCA organizers hoped that conditions in New Hampshire would improve enough to allow a restart in January. Unfortunately, the spread of the disease has progressed at a rate that makes indoor recreational activities risky at best.

With an eye to protecting the association’s members and in anticipation of the arrival of several promising vaccines in the coming months, board members decided to focus on preserving the LRCA’s resources and planning for a full return to curling in the Fall of 2021.

Any members who allowed the association to hold their Fall registration fee in anticipation of a Winter program will now be reimbursed that fee in the coming weeks.

Note that return of the fees does not cancel membership in the LRCA for the coming year. Anyone who registered for the Fall 2020 program remains a member and will be invited to participate in the association’s Annual Meeting and election of officers in February.

By the time curling begins again next Fall, preparations will be well under way for the 2022 Winter Olympics, putting a spotlight on curling once again.

In the meantime, LRCA members are urged to take all appropriate precautions to stay safe and healthy. Despite the setbacks of the past year, the Board of Directors is committed to repaying the enthusiasm and loyalty of members by returning a robust curling program to the Lakes Region as soon as circumstances allow.

COVID hurdles sink Fall sturling season

The Board of Directors of Lakes Region Curling Association has decided to cancel the planned Fall 2020 sturling season.

The decision came after a two-week ban imposed by the state of New Hampshire on ice arena activity, a subsequent COVID-19 testing requirement for all event participants, and a limited commitment by LRCA members to playing under the new circumstances.

“We did the best we could to make this new league a reality,” LRCA president Rich Masse said, “but, in the end, there were just too many uncertainties for us to risk the health of our members and the resources of the association.”

In late November the board will evaluate the prospects for organizing a Winter league.

While the LRCA had registered enough players for two sessions of sturling on eight Sundays in the Fall, a survey of members, taken after the testing requirement was announced, showed an uneven commitment to proceeding.

“There was a real possibility that we might not have enough players for even a single session,” Masse said.

The association plans to reimburse all registration fees in the near future. However, members have the option of asking that their registration payment be held for a Winter season.

While 2020 saw several impacts by COVID-19 on curling here and around the world, 2021 will see the start of competition leading up to the 2022 Winter Olympics. That activity is expected to bring new attention to this ancient sport — and better days for curlers everywhere.

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.