Sports build Island’s first specialized rink, enjoy the new game
LITTLE CURRENT—The new “most fun” use for your outdoor rink in the bleak midwinter is the new and burgeoning ‘sport’ of crokicurl—for the uninitiated, that’s a larger-than-life crokinole board created on an outdoor rink—and one Little Current family has created what is quite possibly Manitoulin’s first and only crokicurl rink, at least so far.
Amanda Roy of Little Current saw a CBC article online in January about a Western Canada crokicurl rink that was gaining a lot of attention. Following a Christmas holiday that, like many Manitoulin households came complete with plenty of evening crokinole action, Ms. Roy showed the article to her husband Evan Roy, proprietor of ER Construction, who immediately got to work planning the Roy’s own backyard version.
Mr. Roy found some plans online and decided to scale it down a bit, making it more kid-friendly for their two children.
The following day, Mr. Roy purchased the lumber needed to build the frame, which is 30 feet in diameter, together with tarps big enough to cover the surface. Tarps, he soon discovered, were not going to cut it—the water kept leaking below when he tried to flood the rink. Mr. Roy then painstakingly took sheets of vapor barrier, glued and taped them together, until they fit the rink’s surface and began to flood…and flood…and flood.
Ms. Roy says her husband spent a week flooding the rink until about five inches of ice had accumulated and then came the time to draw the lines on the rink, just like one would see on a crokinole board, and to drill holes for the pegs (which are covered in chunks of pool noodles) that surround the centre (it’s crokinole-based, remember) and, finally, an ice auger was used to drill the centre hole—the 20-point money shot.
Ms. Roy put out a call for bleach jugs (that act as the discs in a typical game of crokinole), of which she received 14. Unlike crokinole, but because of necessity, each player in a four-player crokicurl game at the Roy home gets three jugs. Three ends make a game and which keeps the games moving quickly as there is always another team waiting in the ‘stands’ for their turn to show off their crokicurl prowess.
The inaugural event took place on the Family Day weekend, almost one month after Mr. Roy began the project that took over 40 hours to complete.
“There is some debate as to what we should call it,” Ms. Roy laughed, saying that while crokicurl is kind of hard to say, curlkinole might have a nicer ring to it. That household debate has yet to be settled.
Eight teams of two played the day away on the Sunday of Family Day weekend in a first annual event that has been heralded as a major success. “There’s talk of a trophy next year,” Ms. Roy said.
This reporter had the chance to play the game over the weekend. A beautiful February night with temperatures hovering around zero, spotlights set up around the perimeter and bench seating for spectators made for ideal conditions. A random draw saw the teams paired with this first-time crokicurler partnered with childhood neighbour Charlie Musquetier which was henceforth named ‘The Robinson Street Crew.’
There was plenty of banter between the teams, strategizing which jug should be taken out and from what angle and how hard the jug should be ‘curled.’
The Crew got off to a great start, winning their first two sets of games, but it might be said that their winning ways went to the Crew’s heads and bragging and bravaccio led to their eventual downfall. The team of Amanda Roy and Amanda Robinson (Amanda Squared) were named the overall champions.
The Roys and the new devotees of crokicurl are hoping the weather will cooperate and that the rink will last until at least the end of March Break, but one thing’s for sure, crokicurl will be a welcome addition to the backyard for winters to come.
“It’s been fun—I love it,” Ms. Roy enthused.