Eau Claire may be the North American capital of the popular yard game kubb, but Altoona is icing up to be the nation’s new epicenter of a growing Canadian sport, crokicurl, as River Prairie Park recently became home to the first crokicurl rink in the United States.
Crokicurl combines the Olympic ice sport of curling with crokinole, a Canadian board game in which players flick small chips toward the highest-ranking region on an octagonal board. Crokicurl, however, is played on a large ice rink and substitutes curling stones for small chips.
“I think of it the same way as kubb,” said Altoona City Administrator Mike Golat, who enjoys curling. “Eau Claire has become the epicenter of kubb in the United States, and I think we have an opportunity here to promote crokicurl, and hopefully it takes hold and becomes popular.”
The new rink in River Prairie is the first of its kind in the United States, and was created after Altoona Recreation Manager Debra Goldbach noticed the sport on the Facebook group Women in Parks and Recreation, where women from around the U.S. and Canada offer inspiration to one another for new recreation activities and sports.
“I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is what we’re looking for,’ ” Goldbach said. “Something new and something different.”