From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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. Though it is not mandatory, curling teams at bonspiels often wear themed costumes.

Bonspiels in North America[edit]


Bonspiels originated in Scotland, 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[citation needed]. 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.

United States[edit]

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. 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[edit]


In Scotland, outdoor bonspiels are now very rare; most lochs that formerly hosted bonspiels, such as Loch Earn, rarely freeze over anymore. 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), previously known as the World Curling Tour Europe (WCT-E).

Other European countries[edit]

Dozens of bonspiels are held in European countries every year. Switzerland hosts multiple Curling Champions Tour events.

Bonspiels elsewhere[edit]

New Zealand[edit]

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.[1] The most recent national bonspiel, the 65th, was held on 9–10 July 2012.[2] 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.[3]

List of Notable Bonspiels[edit]

Origin of the word "Bonspiel"[edit]

The origin of the word is primarily Gaelic.

Since curling is believed to have originated in Scotland, it is likely that "bonspiel" is a modern adaptation of the Scottish Gaelic words "bonn" (coin)[4] and "spéil" (skate)[5] meaning "coin skate" or "cornerstone skate" (archaic definition).[6]

"Spiel" may also have been a Germanic borrowing, meaning "game". In that case, the word may have meant "cornerstone game".


  1. ^ "The bonspiel", New Zealand Curling Association. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  2. ^ "2012 bonspiel results", New Zealand Curling Association. 10 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Curling in New Zealand", New Zealand Curling Association. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  4. ^ "Rannsaich am Briathrachan Bheag" (in Scottish Gaelic). 2010-02-20. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Rannsaich am Briathrachan Bheag" (in Scottish Gaelic). 2010-02-20. Retrieved 2012-02-17. 
  6. ^ "Coin - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Retrieved 2012-02-17. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]