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Hurry Hard: an Alberta Curling Experience

Curling - Image copyrighted & courtesy of Chris Salvo

Curling is an Alberta Pastime

In fluid motion, you glide forward and get low to the ice. Your fingers gently leave the handle of the granite rock, giving it trajectory. Your sweepers glide alongside the rock as it curls towards the opposing stones at the rink's end. Keeping low, you eye your rock and wait to make the call. Then it's time. "Hurry Hard!" you yell to your sweepers and they frantically dust the ice, helping the rock into the end where it smacks another, the bass clap of granite echoing through the rink as your team scores a point to win the end. 

For those who're new to curling, here's how it works: two teams, each of four players, take turns sliding heavy, polished granite stones (in curling circles they're called "rocks") across a narrow ice curling sheet towards the house — a circular target marked on the ice.

Each team has eight stones. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score for a game; points are scored for the stones resting closest to the centre of the house at the conclusion of each end, which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their stones. A game may consist of ten or eight ends. The curler can induce a curved path by causing the stone to slowly turn as it slides, and the path of the rock may be further influenced by two sweepers who accompany it as it slides down the sheet, using brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the stone.

A great deal of strategy and teamwork goes into choosing the ideal path and placement of a stone for each situation, and the curlers' skills determine how close they come to their target. This gives curling its nickname, "Chess On Ice".

MacDonald Island is home to the Fort McMurray Oilsands Curling Club.  


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