Parade primes registrations for Fall 2018 league

The Lakes Region Curling Association presence in Wolfeboro’s Fourth of July parade

Lakes Region curlers stepped out this year with other members of the community in Wolfeboro’s annual Fourth of July parade.

From left: Susan Goodwin, Shirley Allesandroni, Carl Crosley, Bill Connors, and Eileen Neal

Built around a truck loaned by Dave and Shirley Allesandroni’s Carroll County Landscape, the curling entry featured posters, banners, and a curling scoreboard, along with brooms, curling stones, and, of course, a corps of hardy marchers who braved the day’s scorching heat and humidity to hand out informational materials about the LRCA.

In addition to Shirley and Dave — who drove the vehicle — marchers included Eileen Neal, Bill Connors, Susan Goodwin, Carl Crosley, Chris Pollock, and Rich Masse. 

The LRCA presence elicited an enthusiastic response from the crowd — especially Eileen’s brisk sweeping drills — and the parade is expected to boost what should be an enthusiastic response to the organization’s Fall league, which will begin registration on July 23. 

A side view of the LRCA parade entry, with, from left: Rich Masse, Shirley Allesandroni, Eileen Neal, Chris Pollock, Susan Goodwin, Dave Allesandroni (kneeling), Carl Crosley, and Bill Connors

LRCA curlers compete at PSU tournament

Curlers from several LRCA teams competed in the 2018 Grand National Curling Club’s Arena Championship held at Plymouth State University from June 22-24. The tournament brings together curlers from clubs that play at arenas that share the ice among curlers, hockey teams, and other skaters. From left to right are Shirley Allesandroni, Denise Cogswell, Sue Bennet, and Eileen Neal, all of the Wolf Pack, Rich Masse and Andrea Dudley of On the Rocks, and Mike Turner and Bill Connors of the Stone Chuckers.



LRCA sets curling information session for August 8

A classic sliding delivery

If you’ve admired and enjoyed watching the graceful Olympic sport that is curling, you now have a chance to try it out.

The sport of curling, rapidly growing in New Hampshire, arrived in the Lakes Region in 2015 with the formation of the Lakes Region Curling Association. After highly successful Fall and Winter leagues from 2015 through last March, the LRCA  is holding an informational session for potential new members on Wednesday, August 8, at the Wolfeboro Public Library. The 7 p.m. event will pave the way for a curling league that will start in October at Pop Whalen Arena in Wolfeboro.

LRCA curling experiences are designed for participants all ages, for men and women, and for people of varied abilities.

Delivering with a pushstick

The August 8 session will offer an overview of the game of curling, display some of the equipment used in game play, and present information about how the local fall league will operate.

Members of the public from throughout the Lakes Region are encouraged to attend, hear organizers discuss the upcoming program, and ask questions about the sport.

Participants in the LRCA’s fall league will be free to organize their own teams of four to six members (game play will allow team members to rotate into a game), but organizers will also create teams for individuals who do not have one already formed.

A game of curling consists of two four-member teams, with each team “throwing” (that is, sliding) eight polished granite stones toward a bulls-eye target known as “the house.” A game consists of six to eight “ends” (think of them as innings) during which players on the two teams alternate delivering stones towards the house.

The all-important skill of sweeping

While most of us are familiar with the classic sliding delivery in curling, players may also throw their stones using a special push stick that enables the player to walk towards the delivery point and slide a stone without the need to stoop.

This makes the game accessible to people of varied skill levels and physical abilities.

In each end, points are allocated to the team whose stones come to rest closest to the center of the house. A team is allowed to hit the opposing team’s stones in order to move them away from the center of the house. Consequently, curling, which has been described as “chess on ice,” is a game of strategy as well as dexterity.

Started in Scotland in medieval times, curling came to the United States and Canada with Scottish immigrants in the 19th century. While it has been popular in Canada for decades, the game started to explode in popularity in the US after the 2014 winter Olympics. This past winter’s Olympic curling rekindled that interest, and New Hampshire leagues are experiencing an unprecedented response to learn-to-curl events and organized leagues.

More information about the sport is available on this site’s learning page.

LRCA event draws more than 40 aspiring curlers

With the 2018 Winter Olympics barely in the rearview mirror, and the glow from Team USA’s gold medal triumph still fresh, more than 40 residents from the Lakes Region and beyond descended on Wolfeboro’s Pop Whalen Ice Arena on Tuesday, Feb. 27, for a learn-to-curl event.

The capacity crowd filled all four of the arena’s curling sheets as instructors from the Lakes Region Curling Association took collected participants into small groups and provided an overview of the sport’s history and rules of play. The prospective curlers then took turns trying stone delivery via the classic sliding throw as well as the use of delivery sticks.

There were also exercises intended to teach the purpose of and technique for sweeping, which helps control a stone’s distance and path.

With the basics under their belts, the new curlers then engaged in an hour-long scrimmage, putting to practice all the elements that they had learned. The scores weren’t high, but the fun level was, and a number of participants promised to be back when the LRCA kicks off its fourth year at the beginning of the Fall 2018 season.

Not that curling needs any explanation, but for those who might wonder what the benefits could be (apart from the fun), here’s an article from Forbes on the matter.

And while we’re checking out Forbes, how about this piece on why curling is just the Olympic sport for Everyman (and woman)!


Lakes Region Curling makes it to the Olympics


Josh Arnold at the Olympic curling venue in PyeongChang, South Korea
Josh Spaulding at the Olympic curling venue in PyeongChang, South Korea

While LRCA members couldn’t find their way to the Olympics, they were well represented there anyway. Josh Spaulding, sports editor for Salmon Press, publisher of the Granite State News, Carroll County Independent, Alton Baysider, Gilford Steamer, and other newspapers in the Lakes Region, doffed an LRCA baseball cap in a visit to the Gangneung Curling Centre, site of the sports matches. Josh says it was the first venue he visited in his stay at the Olympics.

LRCA curlers also got a bit more exposure on Feb. 13 when the Concord Monitor published a front-page article highlighting the local organization and giving voice to the enthusiasm of its members for their sport. The article is well illustrated by local curlers doing their best imitation of Olympic competition.

With Olympics in the offing, curling’s profile is riding high

Norm Tache and Dave Allesandroni
Norm Tache and Dave Allesandroni

New Hampshire residents have been treated from time to time with a newspaper article here and  a TV piece there about the sport of curling. Especially in a year when the Winter Olympics are taking place, this ancient Scottish sport comes out of the shadows and gets another 15 minutes of fame before withdrawing into obscurity until the next olympiad.

But things may be changing. With several curling clubs now operating in New Hampshire, and interest already awakening, the sport just got another shove into the spotlight by none other than The New York Times Magazine.

While the locus is Tampa, Florida, the Times article, which revolves around a newly minted curling club, offers a lot that should be recognizable to the local curling community: the learning curve for enthusiastic recruits who have a “near-total ignorance of how to play”; the limitations, in terms of ice time and dicey surface conditions, that can occur when sharing an arena with skating programs; and the near-crazed enthusiasm of those who fall under the sport’s spell.

The coming Olympics will be broadcast on NBC, NBCSN and across the networks of NBC Universal. In addition, every Olympic event will be available to stream live and on-demand on 

For those bitten by the bug, the Lakes Region Curling Association will hold a free learn-to-curl session on Tuesday, Feb. 27, as part of the Wolfeboro Winter Carnival. The session will run from about 2:30 p.m. to 4:15 p.m., with required sign-in at 2 p.m.

The current Winter 2018 season concludes on Sunday, March 18, and LRCA organizers will spend the summer planning for the beginning of the organization’s fourth year in the Fall. Watch this web site for further announcements, and use the sign-up form at the right of this page to sign up for our newsletter.

At Super Bowl break, Curlers and Rocks remain undefeated

Bill Connors prepares to sweep as Mike Turner delivers a stone for the Stone Chuckers.
Bill Connors prepares to sweep as Mike Turner delivers a stone for the Stone Chuckers.

Three weeks into the Winter 2018 season only two teams remain undefeated: the Curlin’ Curlers and On the Rocks.

Here are the results of the January 28 matches:

Stone Chuckers 7 On the Rocks 11
Golf Nuts 6 Curlin’s Curlers 7
Wolf pack 7 Team Nine 13
Stone Agers 5 Late Broomers 9
Bye week = Laffingoogans

Here are the standings to date:

On the Rocks 3 0 6  34
Curlin’ Curlers 2 0 4 14
Stone Agers 2 1 0 4 22
Team Nine 1 1 0 17
Golf Nuts 2 0 18
Laffingoogans 1 0 2 12
Stone Chuckers 1 2 0 2 19
Late Broomers 1 2 0 2 17
Wolf Pack 0 3 0 0 14

Here are the upcoming matchups and sheet assignments for Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018:

Match Sheet
Team Nine vs Late Broomers A
Curlin’ Curlers vs Stone Chuckers B
On the Rocks vs Golf Nuts C
Laffingoogans vs Stone Agers D
Bye week for Wolf Pack


2018 Winter league, week 2 results

Bobbi Boudman, Maida Kreis, and Cate Poole of the Late Broomers usher a stone towards the house during an early match of the 2018 Winter season. Check out the full gallery of Mike Spence’s photos for the early Winter 2018 season.

Here are the results of the January 21 matches:

Stone Agers 9 Golf Nuts 5
Team Nine 4 On the Rocks 13
Laffingoogans 6 Wolf Pack 5
Late Bloomers 4 Stone Chuckers 6
Bye week = Curlin’ Curlers

Here are the standings to date:

On the Rocks 0  23
Stone Agers 0  4  17
Curlin’ Curlers 0
Golf Nuts 1 1 0 12
Laffingoogans 0 12
Stone Chuckers 1 0 2 12
Late Broomers 0 2 0 0
Wolf Pack 0 2 0 0  7
Team Nine 0 1 0 0

Here are the upcoming matchups and sheet assignments for Sunday, Jan. 28, 2018:

Match Sheet
Stone Chuckers vs On The Rocks A
Golf Nuts vs Curlin’ Curlers B
Wolf Pack vs Team Nine C
Stone Agers vs Late Broomers D
Bye week for Laffingoogans


Winter fails to chill opening round of 2018 curling

Upsets and fast starts marked the beginning of Lakes Region Curling Association’s Winter league on Sunday, January 14. As the winter season itself dragged the mercury down to single digits, 40-plus LRCA members resumed the drive for the championship — won in the Fall by a determined Stone Chuckers team.

Hugh Crawford sends a stone towards the house with backup from Andrea Dudley.

At the Winter inaugural matches, the Chuckers came up against a persistent Stone Agers squad that refused to quit and eventually prevailed 8-6.

The Fall’s runner-up team, Laffingoogans, went down to a narrow defeat at the hands of the a remixed Golf Nuts rink. The score was 7-6.

On the Rocks, which had battled the Stone Chuckers to the last rock for a chance at all the marbles in the Fall league, came roaring back with a 10-2 victory over Wolf Pack. The Rocks had fallen to third place in the Fall league.

Finally, the Curlin’ Curlers took down a depleted Late Bloomers squad 7-4. 

All teams played under newly announced rules regarding the free guard zone. Under the new regulations, adopted from the World Curling Federation and USA Curling, opponents’ stones lying in the free guard zone may not be taken out play until the sixth stone of the end. 

Stone Chuckers repeat as league champs

The Stone Chuckers are the Fall 2017 champs. From left, Bill Connors, Mike turner, Sue Weeks, and Rick Weeks. Absent from the photo is team member Bud Booth.

The LRCA’s Fall 2017 league saw two firsts — the introduction of a ninth team (the aptly named Team Nine) and a repeat league champion — the Stone Agers. 

The creation of the ninth team was compelled by the addition of six new curlers — more than the existing eight teams could comfortably absorb. That addition led organizers to introduce byes, with each team taking one over the course of the nine-match season. The arrangement allowed each team to play every other team in the league once.

The season saw the usual streaks, and competition was stiff to the very end. The Laffingoogans (formerly the Irish Stoner Rovers and, before that, the Dirty Polar Bears) remained unbeaten until their last game. As a result, the championship hung on the outcome of the last week’s contest between the Stone Chuckers and a resurgent On the Rocks squad that had survived a rocky (pun-intended) start.

In the end, the game ended in a tie, allowing the Chuckers to edge out the ‘Googans for first and leaving the Rocks in third.

As usual, the season concluded with a casual get-together at Bayside Grill and Tavern in Wolfeboro. 

Here are the final standings:

Stone Chuckers 6 1 1 13 60
Laffingoogans 6 2 0 12 53
On the Rocks 5 2 1 11 52
Golf Nuts 5 3 0 10 61
Stone Agers 4 3 1 9 53
Wolf Pack 4 4 0 8 49
Curlin’ Curlers 2 6 0 49
Late Bloomers 1 6 1 27
Team Nine 1 7 0 30