Traditions & Etiquette


The Spirit of Curling

Curling is a game of skill and traditions. A shot well executed is a delight to see, and so, too, it is a fine thing to observe the time-honored traditions of curling being applied in the true spirit of the game. Curlers play to win, but never to humble their opponents. A true curler would prefer to lose, rather than win unfairly.

A good curler never attempts to distract an opponent or otherwise prevent another curler from playing his or her best.

No curler ever deliberately breaks a rule of the game or any of its traditions. But, if a curler should so inadvertently and be aware of it, he or she is the first to divulge the breach.

While the main objective of the game is to determine the relative skills of the players, the spirit of the game demands good sportsmanship, kindly feeling, and honorable conduct. This spirit should influence both the interpretation and application of the rules of the game and also the conduct of all participants on and off the ice.


Be on time. Get to the club in time to change and warm up before the game. When you're late you're holding up seven other players. If you know you'll be unavoidably late, inform your team in advance.

Get a sub. On occasions when you're not able to curl as scheduled, it's your responsibility to get a substitute of similar ability and experience. Specific substitution rules may apply in your league; be aware of these before arranging for a sub. Call your skip and give the name of the curler substituting for you or the names of people you have called. No shows are no-no's.

Practice on a different sheet. If you arrive early and want to throw a few stones to practice or warm up, by all means do so. But be sure not to use the sheet you'll be playing on.

Start with a handshake. At the beginning of a game, greet the members of the opposing team with a handshake, tell them your name, and wish them good curling. Make sure that everyone knows everyone else.

Finish with a handshake. When the game is over, offer each of the players a hearty handshake and move to the warm room. The winning curlers traditionally offer their counterparts some refreshment. In turn, your opponent should reciprocate.

Keep the ice clean. Change your shoes in the warm room. Sand, grit, and dirt are the ice's worst enemy. The shoes you wear should only be used for curling. Keep them clean.

Compliment a good shot. One of the nicest curling traditions is that players and spectators compliment a good shot by either side while not remarking on a poor shot or a competitors misfortune.

Be ready. Take your position in the hack as soon as your opponent has delivered his/her stone. Keep the game moving: delays detract from the sport. Be prepared to sweep as soon as your teammate releases the rock. Don't be caught off guard and have to run after the stone.

Be courteous. Don't distract your opponent in the hack. Keep your distance, be silent and motionless. Don't walk or run across the ice when a player is in the hack. Don't gather around the back of the house when an opponent is throwing. Sweepers should stay on the sidelines between the courtesy lines when not sweeping, including when walking back from sweeping a shot.

Be safe. Follow your rocks: continue down the sheet and catch any rocks that are headed out of bounds into neighboring sheets, and fence rocks that collide with side boards to prevent them from bouncing back into the field of play. Be careful: if you are uneasy stepping around rocks in front of the house to sweep your stone, please pull up and and your teammates take over. Safety first.

Wait for the score. Vice skips are the only players allowed in the house while the score for the end is being decided. All other players should wait beyond the hog line until told they may move into the house to clear the rocks, or until the vice skips move the rocks in the house.