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A bonspiel is a curling tournament, consisting of several games, often held on a weekend. Until the 20th century most bonspiels were held outdoors, on a frozen freshwater loch. Today almost all bonspiels are held indoors on specially prepared artificial ice.
Bonspiels in North America
Bonspiels originated in Scotland, but the most notable competitive curling tournament in the world nowadays is The Brier, the Canadian Men's Curling Championship. For Canadians, this tournament equals or nearly equals the importance of the Olympics and the World Curling Championship. The Canadian Women's Curling Championship tournament is called Scotties Tournament of Hearts. Several Cashspiels are played in Canada every year. The most important cashspiels are part of the World Curling Tour (WCT). Many local curling clubs and other organizations in Canada also host casual, social bonspiels.
The United States Curling Association (USA Curling) is the national governing body of the sport in the United States. Many bonspiels are listed on the USA Curling website. Most bonspiels in the United States are held indoors in dedicated curling facilities, but a few bonspiels are held outdoors if the weather allows it. One example of an outdoor bonspiel is the Sawtooth Outdoor Bonspiel held each January in the Sawtooth Mountain Range of Idaho. Bonspiels are popular throughout the United States during curling season, typically October through April. Some special bonspiels are held in the summer as well as some that are hosted by clubs that play on arena ice as there are usually fewer scheduling conflicts with other sports at the area such as hockey and figure skating.
Bonspiels in Europe
In Scotland, outdoor bonspiels are now very rare; most lochs that formerly hosted bonspiels, such as Loch Earn, rarely freeze over anymore. The Loch of Aboyne was the site of a bonspiel in 1891 and the private railway station, Aboyne Curling Pond was used for the event. The word spiel is sometimes used to refer to an informal curling game, as in parish spiel. The most important Cashspiels in Scotland are part of the Curling Champions Tour (CCT) The Grand Match was last held outdoors in 1979, although it was revived as an indoor tournament in 2000 and has been held every five years since. Between 1853 and 1935 twenty-five 'Grand Matches' or bonspiels were held at the Royal Caledonian Curling Club's own pond at Carsebreck Loch in Perth and Kinross served by the society's own private Carsbreck railway station.
Other European countries
Dozens of bonspiels are held in European countries every year. Switzerland hosts multiple Curling Champions Tour events.
Curling bonspiels are held when ice conditions permit in the Maniototo, part of Central Otago in the South Island. The region is one of the few in New Zealand to have conditions suitable for outdoor curling, and is also a fitting site for the sport given that Otago's original European settlers were mainly from Scotland. Several artificial and natural lakes around the towns of Oturehua, Naseby and Patearoa provide good conditions, on average every second or third year.
The national bonspiel has been held when conditions permit since 1879, with Oturehua's Idaburn Dam the venue since 1932. The most recent national bonspiel, the 66th, was held on 13-14 July 2015. Most New Zealand curling clubs are located in Otago, Canterbury, and Southland, and owing to the difficulty of getting teams to the relatively inaccessible venue, it is rare for teams to travel from outside the southern South Island to the bonspiel.
Indoor curling rinks exist in Otago's main centre, Dunedin (at the Dunedin Ice Stadium), and in the towns of Naseby, Otago and Gore, Southland, and also further north in the country's largest city, Auckland. Open air ice rinks exist in Naseby and Alexandra.
List of notable bonspiels
- The largest and oldest bonspiel in the world is the MCA Bonspiel, which is held in and around Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
- The Sawtooth Outdoor Bonspiel is held in the Sawtooth Mountain Range in Stanley, Idaho.
- The largest outdoor bonspiel in the world, the "Ironman Outdoor Curling Bonspiel" held on the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, has been held at The Forks every February since 2002. In 2015 there were 72 teams competing.
- One of the longest-running outdoor bonspiels in the world, the Bonspiel on the Lake in Invermere, British Columbia, Canada, has been held on Lake Windermere every January since 1982. Each year 64 teams compete.
- The Bonspiel or the Grand Match, between the north and the south of Scotland, is held on a frozen loch (most recently the Lake of Menteith, Stirling) when the winter is cold enough. It was last held outdoors in 1979.
- The Crush Bonspiel in Placer Valley, California, is notorious for its unique combination of curling tournament play and wine festival. This tournament originated in Vacaville in 2006 but was moved to Roseville in 2012 because of its rising popularity in surrounding areas.
- The Brier (Men's Senior Championship of the Canadian Curling Association) is regarded by most curlers as the world's premier curling championship
- The Tournament of Hearts (Canadian Ladies Curling Association Championship)
- The Men's World Curling Championship (Scotch Cup/Silver Broom) WCF WCC
- The Women's World Curling Championship WCC
- The World Junior Curling Championship (WJCC) WCF
- The Winter Olympics
Origin of the word "bonspiel"
Possibly from Dutch bond "league, association" + spel "game".
- "Grand Match 2015". Royal Caledonian Curling Club. 24 October 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
- "Curler, 94, sets Grand Matches record". scotsman.com. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
- "The bonspiel Archived 2012-03-24 at the Wayback Machine", New Zealand Curling Association. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "2015 bonspiel results", New Zealand Curling Association. Retrieved 15 September 2017.
- "Curling in New Zealand", New Zealand Curling Association. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- Canada. "Invermere Bonspiel on the Lake | Invermere BC". Invermere.com. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- "Wine Country Curling Club". Wine Country Curling Club. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- s. montero (Open Post) (2013-08-29). "'The Crush' Curling Tournament". Patch. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
|Look up bonspiel in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Am Baile - Highland History and Culture - Curling Bonspiel
- Keeping the tradition of Grand Match curling alive, Royal Caledonian Curling Club
- Bonspiels in the United States
- Curlingcalendar - List of international bonspiels
- BONSPEIL AT CARSEBRECK POND (1935) (archive film from the National Library of Scotland: SCOTTISH SCREEN ARCHIVE)