Winter activity brings together old games and new friends

Manny Goossen, CONTRIBUTOR

The crokicurl rink at The Forks has been an idea for years, but some active architects brought it to life for the first time this year. THE PROJECTOR/ Manny Goossen

It didn’t take long for a cold, quiet weekday afternoon at The Forks to light up. A young man slid through the middle of an octagonal rink and popped open a box of curling rocks. Ten of his friends came bounding around the corner, circled the rink, and a communal match of ‘crokicurl’ began.

THE PROJECTOR/ Manny Goossen

The outdoor winter game is exactly what it sounds like: crokinole and curling. Crokicurl combines the equipment and ice surface of curling with the design, rules, and gameplay of crokinole.

Trevor Elias, 21, a student at Steinbach Bible College who plays crokinole regularly, tried crokicurl for the first time with friends last week.

“I literally jumped out of my seat [when I heard about crokicurl],” said Elias as his friends laughed and reenacted the moment. “I was really excited to come [play].”

Liz Wreford, a landscape architect at Public City Architecture (PCA), is one of the creators who brought the idea of crokicurl to life. Wreford said crokinole and curling are such a perfect fit that she couldn’t believe no one had designed and built a crokicurl rink before.

“There’re a lot of people who’ve said ‘Oh, I’ve thought of that before,’ but we keep saying ‘Yeah, but you didn’t do it,’” said Wreford, jesting.

The game has sparked a nice community and it’s great to see, said Wreford. She’s seen people make new friends while playing, and she likes that it’s new for everybody. Both these things make the game inclusive, she said.

THE PROJECTOR/ Manny Goossen

“If you’re someone who’s just moved to Canada or someone who’s lived in Winnipeg forever, it’s still like no one’s really good at it yet,” said Wreford. “So it puts everybody on a level playing field.”

Crokicurl’s popularity has spread fast. Wreford said the new game has gotten a lot of national and international attention.

The World Crokinole Championship Committee in Tavistock, Ontario (near the birthplace of crokinole) is fielding tons of calls about crokicurl, and people from towns and cities across Canada have shown interest in bringing the game to their community. A lot of people have asked PCA about how to build the rink, according to Wreford.

“We’re setting it free and want it to catch on,” said Wreford. “I think that would be the ultimate [goal]—for [crokicurl] to be an accepted winter activity all throughout Canada.”

Due to the high demand, PCA released a crokicurl how-to kit that can be downloaded for free on its website. It includes the rules and exact blueprints for building the game rink.

In exchange for its ideas, all PCA asks is that people share the story of crokicurl in their communities by tagging #crokicurl and @PublicCityArch on social media.

THE PROJECTOR/ Manny Goossen