Hybrid Canadian sport gains fans in Maple Grove.
Vowing to make the most of this winter? Get outside, and try something new. Crokicurl may be the game you never knew you were searching for—and Maple Grove happens to have it.
First played seven years ago in Winnipeg, Canada, crokicurl is a hybrid of curling and the board game Crokinole where players flick small discs on an octagonal target to score points. In crokicurl, two teams of one or two players slide rocks across an ice rink toward the center of an octagonal-shaped rink, scoring points for those rocks that end up closest to the target’s center button. The goal is to accumulate as many points as possible. This is the third year that Maple Grove has offered the sport.
Canadian-born Tanya Huntley, the recreational supervisor for Maple Grove’s Parks and Recreation Department, is responsible for bringing the game to the city. She originally came across an article about crokicurl during the height of the pandemic and was intrigued about the local possibilities. “I thought, ‘This is neat. We could build this,’” Huntley says.
“We always try to bring in interesting activities like giant Foosball and sleigh rides for Wonders of Winter,” she says.
After reading about crokicurl, Huntley convinced her parks and rec colleagues to give it a try in Maple Grove. “I was excited I had the support,” she says.
Using funds from the department’s organizational budget, park staff members made their own rocks and built the rink for the 2020–21 winter season. It was located at Maple Grove’s Central Park, hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the skating loop to draw attention to their new offering.
The rink might have aroused curiosity, but they still needed to walk people through how to play the unknown game, so they hosted several try-it days. “The first question we got was, ‘What is it?’” Huntley says. (Though the game has spread in popularity across Canada, to Huntley’s knowledge, Maple Grove is the first city in Minnesota to offer the game.)
It was easier to explain once staff had tried it out themselves, so they did. “I loved it,” Huntley says. “Our staff went and played it, and it’s really fun and easy.”
Huntley says the game can be played by a broad range of ages and abilities. “We had all ages of people trying it out,” she says. “People seemed to enjoy it.”
Encouraged by the initial community response, the parks and recreation department decided to offer crokicurl again last year. “We were challenged by the weather a bit,” Huntley says.
Staff set up the rink for self-service play with the rules and the equipment all on hand for people to just stop and play on a whim. They also invested in some recreational rocks for crokicurl. The result? The 2022 award for innovative programming from the Minnesota Recreation and Park Association.
“I’m really proud to be part of this group and this team,” Huntley says.
The crokicurl rink will run the same schedule as the city’s other outdoor rinks. Weather permitting, it will be open from mid-December to early March. It is free to play, and all equipment is provided at the rink. Huntley hopes that the popularity of crokicurl continues to grow and draw in new players. (Find more information at maplegrovemn.gov.)
Maple Grove Parks and Recreation