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.