A new Canadian winter pastime will wrap up this week in Saskatoon.
Crokicurl is a large-scale version of the board game crokinole using curling rocks on an outdoor ice surface.
The Broadway Business Improvement District (BID) brought crokicurl to Saskatoon for the first time in January, setting up outside the Broadway Roastery at the five corners intersection.
“It’s been so fun seeing the community come out and embrace crokicurl and give it a try,” said DeeAnn Mercier, BID executive director.
“It’s been such a big hit, it would be great to have again next year.”
Mercier said she’s seen plenty of interest – with crowds thinning a bit on days of extreme cold, while some locals have become regulars.
“People who were there, from the community, quite a few days in a row and teaching people best practices,” she said.
One of the most frequently asked questions about crokicurl – what’s the best throwing technique?
“Since it’s an outdoor rink, the ice changes day-to-day. So some people push off the sides and some people push off from the middle and all sorts of things,” she said.
As for who has the advantage – a crokinole master or a curling champion – Mercier said it’s tough to decide.
“Maybe curling. But the people who really love crokinole tend to do really well at it because they know the angles and they know what rocks are the hardest ones to get out.”
With the ice surface scheduled to be removed from the area Thursday, the BID is putting on one last formal event at the rink – a tournaspiel.
Saskatoon will go head-to-head with Winnipeg, where crokicurl first debuted last year, in the fun competition.
Teams of two to four people will play quick 15-minute games Saturday. There will be prizes, along with an outdoor pizza oven for food – and general warmth.
People can enter a team into the formal event online. www.broadwayyxe.com.
The crokinole surface will stay open Sunday through Wednesday for people to try the game with, with frozen milk jugs to replace the well-used public curling rocks.
“Our rocks took a real beating this year, so if we’re going to do it again we’re going to have to order a whole new set,” Mercier laughed.