Ironman Curling Rules

Ironman Curling rules follow the same rules of curling with some exceptions given the outdoor conditions and this is a charity event.

We will outline the basics and the exceptions. The goals are for everyone to be active in the winter, enjoy the sport of curling and sportsmanship. Half the field makes the playoffs on Sunday and in some cases teams would prefer not to play on Sunday. We like to say that if both teams agree then it’s a go. If you do have any questions, please email us or speak with a volunteer on the ice level.

Curling rule basics

  • Shake hands with other team before and after the game and say a hearty “Good Game”
  • There is no age limit for curling. We suggest the curler be able to throw or stick throw 42lbs of granite (give or take) as we do use regulation curling rocks
  • Ironman curling ice is regulation size at 150 feet, or 126 feet from hack to the T-line (on the button)
    • New for 2017 is the Family division with shorter sheets at a distance of 90 feet from hack to the T-line
  • Each game is 6 ends or 50 minutes, whichever comes first.  The colder it is the faster the game is played, funny how that works
  • Each team is guaranteed 3 games in both the Ironman and Family division. In the Ironman division to keep playing the team has to win the 3rd game. If the team loses their 3rd they are eliminated. If you win you are on to the playoffs on Sunday. Please double check your draw time for Sunday, many a team has missed their Sunday playoff game because they did not realize they were playing or had the time wrong. The top playoff winners will receive prizes at the closing ceremonies at Beachcombers restaurant starting at 3:00 pm. Family division teams have 3 games and no playoffs.
  • You can use any device to hurl the rock from one end to the other. You can also start from any position at or behind the hack line and stay between the side board lines as long as you release the rock before the rock crosses the closest hog line.
  • Rocks can leave the sheet you are playing on but must come to rest “fully in play” which means between the side board lines and fully over the far hog line but not fully past the backline of the house you are throwing to. We do not use side boards so please be on the look out for rocks from any direction. It takes a few ends to understand how the sheet works for both teams. Its always a great moment when someone figures it out.
  • Free guard zone is in effect (Click here for a Free Guard Zone explanation and some basic rules of curling.)
  • Snow plowing is allowed (unlike rule #4 under Sweeping in the Free Guard Zone link above), and may be necessary during heavy snow fall, however you are not allowed to leave the snow you have accumulated while snow plowing in front of the rock to help stop it. This would be similar to touching, or in curling terms, burning a rock as you are changing the path of the rock by allowing something to contact it (your snow pile). Please always clean the snow/debris away from the path of the rock when sweeping, shoveling or snow plowing.
  • Some people are new to curling or not aware of our rules, so please remind them and their skip and if needed you can also speak to an organizer for assistance.
  • Teams are encourage to dress up to stand out and show spirit. Your team may be in the social media or chance to be in media for interviews.
  • Please bring your own curling brooms and shoes. We will have a few loaner brooms on site and curling sliders will work on river ice. All types of brooms for sweeping are encouraged, dig out that old horse or hog hair broom, you will be the talk of the Ironman.
    Tip: Sponge hockey shoes work well if it snows, and a large shop push broom (or possibly a shovel) helps clean a path for the rock.
  • Ironman recommends wearing two grippers so you have better balance and traction on the river ice. Curling with a stabilizer in your non rock throwing hand. Homemade stabilizers are encouraged as long as they do not scratch or pit the ice.  We also recommend wearing helmets for novice curlers.
  • Metal cleats or any type of spikes are strictly not allowed as they can damage the ice surface. Medical exemptions may apply, but strict usage rules will be in place.

Who can Curl?

Many who participates in our event are curling for the first time which is fantastic.  So they don’t owns their own curling equipment (curling brooms, shoes with sliders, stretchy curling pants, or custom jerseys or jackets) or even understands the technique used by a curler when sliding out of the hack to deliver their rocks. That’s no problem because many of our participants first learned about curling on our river ice and picked up the rules and techniques as they played, and most use a shuffleboard approach to deliver their rocks along with any broom (or even shovel) they can find at home to deliver their rocks and help sweep the ice. Just grab any home broom and dress appropriately for light activity outdoors (winter jacket, warm boots, toque, etc) and you will fit right in. Better yet, get your team to all dress up with some crazy outfits and be the talk of the Ironman!

-This is a great fun video on the basics of curling: CURLING – a 2 minute guide

From the old Scotsman, words of wisdom

You bes’ leave the fancy curling gear at home, haul out the corn and old hog hair brooms, they work the best on river ice.

To practice and get in shape for the Ironman, sweep the snow off your walk with a straw broom. When you’’re finished, sweep your neighbor walk and when you’’re done that sweep your other neighbor’s walk and when you’’re done that pour yourself a dark ale.

The best restaurant at The Forks to eat at is the Beachcomber which is also the home of the Ironman Patch all weekend. They have amazing deserts. For the closest restaurant to the curling ice nothing beats the Muddy Waters Eatery and their plate of All About the Nachos, always a seat for you to warm up next to the round fireplace.

It`s the job of the third to mark down your team name on the next game branch on the Draw board at ice level, win or loss so you always know which sheet and time you play next. The trick is to look for the same 8 teams in your pool that came in with you, and if they are leaving the pub you bes’ be leaving too. If the third fails at this important task, he/she will be buying the next round at the Ironman Patch.

You want to stay warm, layers is the key. Something colorful so your skip can see which player is ready to throw the rock. I always were a kilt and carry my bagpipes so my skip knows where I am.

This Scotsman always stays at the Humphry Inn & Suites at 260 Main Street when I come to the Ironman Outdoor Curling Bonspiel. Give them a call at 204.942.4222 or toll free at 877.486.7479 for those of you who live out of town like me, and be sure to mention the bonspiel for potential discounts when you book at least a week early. I like discounts!

See you on the ice and Hurry Hard!