What Is Curling?

Here is a fantastic two minute video from Curling Canada telling you all about Curling!

Curling Basics

​Curling is a game involving two four-player teams, granite stones, brooms, and a sheet of ice. All players alternate sliding stones towards a circular target area, called a “house”, while their teammates sweep the ice and the skip shouts instructions. The score for each round, or “end”, is determined after all 16 stones are thrown, based on whichever team’s rock(s) is closest to the middle of the house. Games are eight ends long and take about two hours to play, excluding Olympic-level games which are 10 ends.

Positions On A Team

There are four members of a curling team and each delivers two stones, in this order: first, the “lead”, second, the “second”, third, the “third” a.k.a. “mate”, and fourth, the “skip”.

The skip is responsible for the strategy, and calls the shots for all the players. She/he stands in the “house” (the rings) at the end opposite to the delivering end (where curlers throw their shots from) and directs the play.

The two teams competing against each other take turns delivering stones until all 16 stones have been thrown.

The Curling Sheet


Four coloured concentric circles make up the house or target. The other circle is called the 12 foot (3.7 metre) circle, next to it is the 8-foot (2.4 metre) circle and the next circle is called the 4-foot (1.2 metre). Finally, the innermost circle is called the button (or middle point of the house), and is usually one foot in diameter.

Hog line – Delivered stones must be completely over this line to remain in play unless they have come in contact with a stone which is in play. In addition, curlers must release the stone completely before they reach this line at the delivering end of the sheet.

Back line – The line across the sheet at the back of the house. Stones which come to rest completely over this line are out of play.

Tee line – This is the line which goes across the sheet in the middle of the house.

Side lines – Once a stone touches a side line it is out of play.

Free guard zone – The area between the hog line and the tee line, not including the house.

The History Of Curling

history of curling

It is hard to tell where curling was first born, since both Scotland and the ‘Low Countries’ of Europe claim they were the inventors. The stages curling has gone through in its history are best traced by the development of curling stones. The earliest known stones, called “kuting stones”, date back to the 16th century. In fact, the stone that most agree is the oldest in existence has the year 1511 carved into its side. They had no handles, but usually had small niches scraped into them for the fingers to grip and hold on to – picture a modern-day bowling ball that’s a lot more awkward to throw!  Scottish settlers and General Wolfe’s soldiers brought curling to Canada around 1760.

The game faced its single biggest change when Canada’s harsh winters inspired the creation of indoor curling facilities. This improvement in playing conditions and the development of “artificial ice” resulted in an extended playing season, a growth in the number of clubs, and more people participating in the sport. In the late 1950’s, Canada had over 1,500 curling clubs, many of which were in small rural communities throughout the country. 

curling canada

​Our curling facility gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Canadian Curling Association through its Curling Assistance Program.

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49 Dufferin Avenue
Saint John, NB
​E2K 2T7


Tel: (506) 634-7656
Email: tsa@nb.aibn.com
Etransfer: tsa@nb.aibn.com