Crokicurl construction commences

A firefighter starts the first layer of flooding for Prince Albert's first crokicurl sheet on Feb. 12, 2019 in Memorial Square. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

Prince Albert’s planned crokicurl sheet began to take shape in Memorial Square Tuesday.

The project, put forward by the Prince Albert Downtown Business Improvement District (PADBID) with support from the city and the Prince Albert Winter Festival, is set to be ready for this weekend.

Crokicurl is a combination of the game of crokinole and the sport of curling. It features competitors throwing curling-style rocks from around a frozen octagon towards the centre in an effort to get as close to the button as possible. The area surrounding the centre is painted in red and blue rings, similar to the scoring area (or house) of a curling sheet.

The rocks are the same size as curling stones, but lighter.

The city approved the installation of the crokicurl sheet earlier this year. Tuesday, the first steps of its installation began.

First, local company Carleton Contracting Inc. came by to lay down a vapour barrier and construct the wooden boards.

Then, the fire department took over, using a truck and a hose to flood the first layer of ice.

The next steps are to apply the paint and complete a few more layers of flooding before the crokicurl sheet is complete.

“This is months of work and planning and building the structure, so it’s good to finally see it coming all together,” PADBID executive director Carolyn Carleton said.

“Today is just the main flood. We’ll see how far we get today, and then we still have to paint all of the rings. Our goal is to have it open to the public on Saturday”

It’s expected that the first day of operation will be quite busy. Facebook posts about crokicurl coming to Prince Albert have been shared over hundreds of times, and a lot of private groups have already booked times on the ice surface.

Construction worker fastens crokicurl boards
A worker with Carleton Contracting Inc. fastens the crokicurl boards together prior to flooding on Feb. 12, 2019. (Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald)

While private groups can book the surface for pre-set timeslots, you don’t have to book the surface to put it to use. There are other times where the game will be open to the public.

“People are looking for an excuse to get out of the house because it has been so cold for so long,” Carleton said.

“Crokicurl doesn’t take that long — there are only four rocks per team per game. But once you get out and play one game you’ll probably want to play (more).”

Carleton expects the game will lead to increased foot traffic downtown, which should serve as a boon for local businesses.

“There are always places to warm up or to go do something between games, she said.

“On the weekend we’re open from 1-5 so you can come downtown, have lunch and play crokicurl.”

Carleton thanked all of the community groups that helped make the crokicurl installation possible, such as the city, Northern Lights Community Development Fund, the fire department and the curling club.

“This is fantastic,” she said.

“A lot of community groups have come together to make this happen. I think the Prince Albert community is excited to have this experience, so I’m glad we have it downtown in Memorial Square.”