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Updated: 16th January 2019 14:23

Curling broom changes welcomed by competitive players

The changes to competitive curling brooms have been welcomed by players, says Ashley Howard of CurlSask.

Impact of sweeping "reined in," according to CurlSask director

Curling brooms will now have to meet a specific standard in competitive curling to create a level playing field for teams. (Wang Maye-E/The Associated Press)

The changes to curling brooms are welcomed by competitive curlers, says Ashley Howard, executive director of CurlSask. 

"Overall, we're happy to be all on the same level playing field," Howard said. "It was difficult to think one team had an advantage over another in previous years."

The National Research Council conducted a series of tests on the impact of brooms and sweeping on the game of curling. It was concluded the brooms were scratching the ice. 

"In essence, defacing the surface," Howard added.

The NRC's scientific approach to what Howard calls 'shenanigans' in curling, has given some great recommendations for the competitive curling scene, she said. 

The old brooms could manipulate the rocks, increasing or decreasing the curl when needed.

"It really took some of the skill out of the game," Howard said.

The changes will impact only players at high level competition, such as those using the Canadian Team Ranking System or on the World Curling Tour for example.

Recreational leagues are otherwise unaffected by the new mandates and will not have to adhere.

Howard said there has been an adjustment period with players but anticipates a smooth transition to the new brooms. 

A new brush head fabric was agreed upon and will be implemented this year.

Ashley Howard, executive director for CurlSask, says the manipulation of the rocks with old brooms took some skill out of the game. (Glenn Reid/CBC)

"We did feel there was too much control in the sweepers' hands," Howard said.

"That's been reined back in to a reasonable amount."

One fabric is to be used by all manufacturers for the competitive level.

No changes will be seen at club or league play for rec players, she said. 

"If you're competing in a regular curling league, go ahead, still use the old broom. ... You're still more than welcome to use those." 

Howard said the new brush heads will cost between $24 and $29 while the brush handles will cost between $60 and $100. 

The Afternoon Edition

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