The Ice

Curling is played on a “sheet” of ice approximately 150 feet in length and 15 feet 7 inches in width. At either end of the sheet is a target consisting of three rings generally colored blue, white and red from the inside out. The center circle inside of the blue ring is called button. The button is one foot in diameter while each ring is two feet wide.

Behind each house are “hacks” which are placed on the sheet to give the player delivering the stone a solid surface to push off of. The first line the player delivering a stone will cross sits six feet in front of the hack, is named the “back line,” and sits tangent to the back of the house. The back line is the furthest point on the sheet that a stone can sit and still be in play. The next line is the “tee line” which bisects the house and is located twelve feet in front of the hack. The third and final line they will cross is the “hog line” which sits 33 feet in front of the hack. There is 72 feet in the center of the sheet before the other side’s hog line is placed with the same distance going further for the tee line, back line and the hack. There is one line that runs the entire length of the sheet from hack to hack named the “center line.”

When players deliver stones, they need to release it before it crosses the first hog line and it needs to completely pass the second hog line to be considered in play. If it does not completely cross it, the stone is considered “burned” and is removed from the sheet. The area between the furthest hog line and the beginning of the house or “top of the house” is known as the free guard zone. The two stones that each lead delivers are generally guards and while in the free guard zone, they cannot be taken out by the opponent. If they are, the original stone is replaced to the location it was before it was hit. Any stone that rests in (or touching) the house that are delivered by the two leads are considered to be fair game for the opponent to attempt a “take out” and remove them from the house.

The ice is prepared before each game by pebbling it with small droplets of water. The pebbling creates small bumps or texture on the ice. This allows the stones to glide across the ice further than it would if there was no pebbling on it.