Current Briar

Current Briar News

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Winners of the 2022 Friars’ Briar in Lethbridge, Alta

Unfortunately, there was a delay in receiving the results of the Friars’ Briar at Lethbridge.  However, the following results are now presented as a wrap-up news item for that event.

Award Winners:
Heavenly Host – the visitors (defined as the west in 2022)
Amazing Grace – Teenie Wall
!st place – Team Freidrich
2nd place – Team Pacific
3rd Place – Team Baska
4th Place – Team Rock Stars
5th Place – Team Paetch (Don Amos winner)
6th Place – Team Bartel
7th place – Team Hesje (Hugh Christmas winner)
8th place – Team Wall

There was also a smaller online curling tournament a few weeks later. The final standings for that event is as follows:
1st – David Hunter
2nd – Chad Moir
3rd – Jack Dyck
Congratulations to all!

The decision has been made regarding location of the 2023 Friars’ Briar – London, ON, March 6-10

Details re Online Friars’ Briar on March 26

Hi Friars,

Laverne Hautz has agreed to coordinate a one-day online bonspiel. This will take a similar format to the virtual Briar of 2021 but will take place all on one day: Saturday, March 26.
Bonspiel Schedule:
Open with zoom at 11am EST
Round robin in your pool from about 11:15am – 4pm EST (6-end games)
Zoom call around 4pm to announce playoffs
Playoffs from about 5pm – 8pm EST
Zoom call to announce winners around 8pm EST
Zoom will be open all day for folks who want to check in or visit.
Number of registrants will not be limited. Registrants will be divided into pools.
Cash prizes will be given to the winners – TBD depending on the number of registrants and pools.
How to register:
1. If you haven’t already registered at then do so. Note your nickname. You do need to register but you don’t need to subscribe. So this is free if you don’t subscribe. 
2. Send an email by March 11 to with
  •  your full name
  •  your playcurling nickname
  • your phone number 
  • your time zone
Registration for this event is free. Laverne will be in touch with the draw prior to the 26th.
If you have questions, feel free to contact Laverne directly.

The 2022 Friars’ Briar is set to go in Lethbridge

Despite Covid19, the Executive and Local Lethbridge Planning Committee have prevailed in having the 2022 Friars’ Briar  set to go on Monday, March 7!

Eight teams are participating , with each of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia registering teams.  In addition, with the success of the ‘online Friars’ Briar’ last year, there will be another online Briar this year, set to go on Saturday, March 26.

Friars’ Briar 2022 will be held in Lethbridge on March 7-11

A Word from the President….
On behalf of the executive, I’m pleased to confirm that the Friars’ Briar 2022 will be held in Lethbridge on March 7-11. 
Lee Lovebridge will be heading up the planning committee. If you are interested in helping out in that capacity I’m sure he’d be happy  to hear from you: The Lethbridge club is fairly new and looks to be a terrific venue for us! As most of you will already know, the Tim Horton Brier will be held in Lethbridge during the same week. We haven’t been in a Brier city in a number of years and so I’m sure it will be an exciting year to attend the Briar/Brier. The planning group will plan for a maximum of 24 teams so be sure to register early once registrations open (later this year). 
Wishing you an enjoyable summer and hope that we’ll all be back in our clubs in fall!


March 8 – 12, 2021

We are pleased to announce that registrations are open for the 2021 virtual Friars’ Briar!
Note: If you don’t want to curl, you may join social events and/or watch the curling games online as an observer!
Current limitations on interprovincial travel and gathering of large numbers of people have
created opportunity for the first ever online Friars’ Briar. We hope to emulate the feel of the
Friars’ Briar as much as we are able. To that end you can look forward to the following:

• A round robin and play-off style online curling tournament
• Heavenly Host award and other prizes
• Social gatherings through zoom (and possibly other platforms)
• Online AGM (this will be mandatory for all registrants to ensure quorum)
• Daily organizational gatherings for announcements
• A watch party for the Tim Horton’s Briar (assuming it will go ahead)

We hope you will join in the fun to make the 2021 Friars’ Briar both memorable and enjoyable!

In order to keep the event manageable, the decision was made to play individuals vs.
individuals as opposed to teams vs. teams. We will continue the ‘East/West’ Heavenly Host

Register first at: Curlers must create an account with prior to Briar registration. You can create a free account. You can also
create a paid account (yearly/monthly). It is your choice. Instructions for creating the account
are below.
Register second at: 2021 Online Friars Briar Registration
Registrations will close on Sunday, February 21, 2021.

Follow-up information including online links will be sent to all registrants before the start of the
Briar. If you would like to participate as a spectator. Please let the BC host group know of your
interest so that you also get sent the links.

Curling site:
The competition will take place in Room 3 at
Each Player competes as an individual, but you are allowed a coach/alternate.
The site has a text chat option. If you would like a video or audio chat with your opponent
explore platforms you both have in common (zoom/facebook messenger/ whatsapp/ discord/
google hangout/etc. or telephone)

We strongly encourage curlers to visit the site in advance on the Briar to both become familiar
with the site and to practice. Don’t be discouraged if it takes you a little while to get the hang of
it… it will come. And know that most of your competitors will be as new to the platform as you.
We wish to emphasize that although it is a competition… this Briar is meant to be collegial and
fun! Our main goal is to keep in touch, to maintain the rhythm of our Briar and to enjoy the
company of fellow curlers!!

Pools will be established for Round Robin Play. Each player will receive information about who
is in their pool. Games with opponents in your pool will be played at mutually agreed times
between Monday morning, March 8, and Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. PT (8:00 p.m. ET). The
schedule allows flexibility, but it is essential to keep the flow of play going so there is not a
backlog of games to play at the end of the day and so people in the eastern time zone don’t
have to be playing late at night. When players mutually agree on a game time, notify the drawmaster so the game times can be posted, and spectators may join.

A Playoff schedule for the championship round will be made from the top sixteen players.
Other play-off rounds will be structured around the number of players participating. These
games will be played on Thursday and Friday.
Spectators are welcome at all online games.

How to set up a Fee Account for
Here is a step-by-step process for setting up your free account for

1. Go to the web site.
2. Click on the “Play Now” button.
3. Click the “Sign In” Button.
4. On the bottom, right corner of the window, click the “Sign Up” button.
5. Create a Nick Name and enter it.
6. Create a Password and enter it (twice).
7. Enter an Email Address
8. Click the Sign-Up Button at the bottom right corner of the window.
9. Check your email for a verification message and click on the link to authenticate your

How to Start a Game (or practice session)

1. Sign In using your Nick Name and Password.
2. Click the “Play Now” button.
3. Click “Start Game.” (or Practice if you want to practice against yourself)
4. Choose a ‘Room’ in which to play. Most individual players go to room 1 to play against
strangers. In order to avoid the crowd, we will play in room 3.
5. Once in a room you may challenge any player who is available to play in that room or
wait to be challenged by another player. (For purposes of The Friars Briar 2021, please
set an appointed time to play against an opponent in your Round Robin Pool, meet in
Room 3 at that time and look for that person by Nick Name. If another person
challenges you while you are waiting for your opponent, please decline the challenge so
you are available to play your scheduled opponent when they are ready.)
6. Once in a room you may also watch other games by clicking on any game that is already
in progress. For the Friars’ Briar Bonspiel Online you are encouraged to watch and cheer
others on. A list of Nicknames will be published so you know who you are watching or
looking for. The in-game (written) chat feature works for players and spectators. It is
also a nice bonus to set up an audio chat with your opponent to have more immediate
visiting through FaceTime, Messenger, Discord or even by phone.
7. Bonus Tip: It is possible to play this game on a tablet now, but a computer is much
easier to control. Either a mouse or touchpad can be used but a mouse seems easier.

How to Play Online Curling
Players meet in Waiting Room 3, at a time agreed to by both parties. One player issues a
challenge to the other. The game chooses who has the hammer. Players play a four-end game
following all the usual rules including the Five-Rock Free Guard Zone rule. Note that all games
are played by the clock. Thinking time for each shot consists of 15 seconds plus an additional 2
minutes per end. Altogether that is a total of 4 minutes per player per end for thinking time.
This means that a four-end game will not exceed thirty-two minutes. Note, that if a player runs
out their clock, they will lose their shot, but they will still have 15 seconds for any subsequent
To shoot, use your mouse (or touch pad) to hold the broom in the desired place. Check to
make sure the turn on the rock is correct and change it if necessary, with the button at the
bottom of the screen. When ready to shoot hold the mouse button (pad) down until the
desired amount of weight is applied. You can judge the weight when the coloured power
indicator appears. (blue/green for guard; green for draw; yellow for hack weight; orange for
board weight; red for take-out… approximately). To sweep a rock hold down your mouse
button and wiggle the mouse back and forth anywhere on the ice surface.
If in doubt, use the help feature found with a ‘?’ button. If you still have questions, please
contact David Hunter for assistance.

Covid19 requires Friars’ Briar to play ONLINE in 2021


March 8 – 12, 2021

Welcome to the FRIARS’ BRIAR 2021 ONLINE !!  (Courtesy of the BC Friars!!)

Due to COVID 19 and the limitations on interprovincial travel and gathering of large numbers of people, the 2021 Annual Friars’ Briar Bonspiel will be held ONLINE.  Social gatherings, business meetings and organizational gatherings will take place on ZOOM.  Curling competition will be through an online curling game, for those who wish to participate in play.

There will be online curling competition on an individual basis (though individuals are allowed to have an alternate/coach on their team but must share one account/nickname during the bonspiel.)  Curling competition will be held in Room 3, on  Registration must be completed by February 21, 2021 to allow for draw schedules to be made and address technical issues.  Participants must start a free (or paid subscription) account at in order to register for the bonspiel and participate in the chat feature.  (Instructions are available from the registrar.)  If curlers are unfamiliar with the online game, they are encouraged to register their account early and practice/play for a few weeks before the competition. 

Players will play as individuals rather than on teams.  Competition will include a Heavenly Host (East/West) competition.  Pools will be established for Round Robin Play and a Playoff schedule for the championship round will be made from the top sixteen players.  Other play-off rounds will be structured around the number of players participating.  Spectators are welcome at all online games. 

Round Robin games will begin Monday morning, March 8, and should be completed by Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. PT (8:00 p.m. ET).  The schedule allows flexibility, but it is essential to keep the flow of play going so there is not a backlog of games to play at the end of the day and so people in the Eastern Time Zone don’t have to be playing late at night.  When players mutually agree on a game time, the draw-master should be notified so the time can be posted, and spectators may join.  Once a player completes all of their Round Robin Games, they are welcome to play games for fun against other Friars’ who have completed all of their Round Robin Games.  The play-off round will be scheduled for Thursday and Friday. 

(Further details to follow by email or on the website where indicated)

Media Coverage – Waterloo Friars’ Briar 2020

The Friars’ Briar — Canada’s clergy curling tournament — puts faith and fellowship on ice

Gerald Heimpel, left, and Reid Kennel sweep a rock Thursday, March 5, 2020, during the Friars’ Briar, an annual Canadian clergy curling tournament held this year at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ontario. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller
March 9, 2020



WATERLOO, Ontario (RNS) — The Rev. David Martin couldn’t catch a break.

Even when he made a perfect shot, his opponent caught a lucky bounce and beat him.

Things went so bad, his teammates started quoting the Psalms. “You can’t say our cup runneth over,” one of them said. 

In the end, however, Martin was gracious in defeat. 

“God must’ve understood his ego needed it more than mine,” Martin joked afterward with a group of onlookers.

His response sums up the spirit of the Friars’ Briar, a clergy version of the Tim Hortons Brier, the annual Canadian men’s curling championship, which ended Sunday.


Clergy and their associates compete Thursday, March 5, 2020, in the Friars’ Briar, an annual Canadian clergy curling tournament held this year at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ontario. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

The five-day co-ed clergy curling tournament has been held parallel to the Brier since 1978, usually traveling to the same provinces as its more competitive counterpart.

It tweaked the spelling of the event to stay out of trouble with the Curling Canada-sanctioned tournament. It also ended Friday to give curlers the chance to return to their pulpits.

And it lends itself more easily to puns about the “rather un-kosher sounding ‘hog line,’” the “temple of brooms” and letting he who is without sin “cast the first stone.”

The idea for the tournament came during the late 1970s, a divisive moment in Canadian history, according to Martin, who — when not “skipping,” or leading, a team — is executive minister of the Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada and past president of the Friars’ Briar Association board.

“Clergy at the time … basically said, ‘We can do better than that in the church,’” he said. “‘Why don’t we build some east-west bridges and do something fun together and bring clergy together across the country?’”

Rabbi Cory Weiss of Temple Har Zion in Thornhill, Ontario, watches the opposing team’s shot on Thursday, March 5, 2020, during the Friars’ Briar, an annual Canadian clergy curling tournament held this year at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ontario. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

This year, the Friars’ Briar drew 18 teams of four curlers each from across Canadian provinces and Christian traditions — including Mennonite, Lutheran and United Church of Canada churches — to the KW Granite Club on the University of Waterloo campus. The event, which ran March 2 to 9, also drew a small crowd of fans from the nearby First United Church of Waterloo to cheer on the team led by their pastor, the Rev. Kellie McComb.

Rabbi Cory Weiss was the tournament’s lone Jewish curler. He won its 2020 Amazing Grace Award for single-handedly keeping the event interfaith.

Weiss, a rabbi at Temple Har Zion in Thornhill, Ontario, first came to the Friars’ Briar in 2016 with a team of rabbis and cantors who curled together Monday mornings in the Greater Toronto Interfaith Curling Club. They called themselves the Frozen Chosen and wore jackets emblazoned in Hebrew with the phrase, “Blessed is my rock,” a nod to Psalms 18:46.

Weiss has been back every year since — this year, as vice skip on a team led by a retired United Church minister.

In between tournaments, the rabbi has preached at churches led by clergy he has met curling and organized benefit concerts with a blended synagogue-church choir.

“So a lot of good comes out of the group beyond just having fun curling, which is nice,” he said. “We know that if we want to talk to Christian colleagues, we have them to talk to, and if they want to talk to Jewish colleagues, they have them to talk to.”

Kevin Peters Unrau, pastor of Hillcrest Mennonite Church in New Hamburg, Ontario, slides out of the hack to make a shot on Thursday, March 5, 2020, during the Friars’ Briar, an annual Canadian clergy curling tournament held this year at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ontario. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

The tournament gives clergy the chance to enjoy some fun and games, according to Pam Bartel, president of the Friars’ Briar Association board and skip of a team in this year’s tournament.

It also gives them a chance to learn from one another.

Bartel said she has learned while “broomstacking,” or sharing conversation and usually a drink with other curlers after a game, how differently Christians and Jews approach Scripture. She has also learned how similar clergy jokes are across traditions.

“I think that we’re stronger for the dialogues that we have with each other,” said Bartel, a layperson who works at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, which is affiliated with the Mennonite Church of Eastern Canada.

Still, Bartel said, there’s also some healthy competition.

“When you’re on the ice, you’re just curling,” she said. “Most of the time you’re not having theological discussions or talking about people’s faith background. You’re just thinking about the shots.”

In addition to sliding rocks down a sheet of ice and sweeping in front of them to guide them straighter and farther toward a target-like “house” at the other end, curling emphasizes good sportsmanship, known as the “spirit of curling.” That includes exchanging handshakes with opponents before, and broomstacking with them after, a game and being honest if one “burns,” or touches, a rock as it travels down the ice.

A skip calls a shot for his team on Thursday, March 5, 2020, during the Friars’ Briar, an annual Canadian clergy curling tournament held this year at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ontario. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Those are opportunities for clergy to practice what they preach, according to Bartel.

“We talk grace and mercy, all of those things that the church teaches, but you get out on the ice and you get an opportunity to practice those things,” she said.

At the Friars’ Briar, each team must have at least one curler who is a member of the clergy or connected to a faith-based organization as its skip or vice skip. Those rules have loosened up since the earliest Friars’ Briar, according to Reid Kennel, a layperson who works for the Mennonite Central Committee and plays second on Team Bartel.

Curlers sweep in front of their team’s rock on Thursday, March 5, 2020, during the Friars’ Briar, an annual Canadian clergy curling tournament held this year at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ontario. RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

That’s because the tournament has the same concerns about attracting younger members that many religious institutions do, Kennel said.

“I don’t think it’s that young people aren’t as concerned with their spiritual lives or the metaphysical realm or whatever it is. I think it’s just large churches and the institutional politics really scare people away,” he said.

Kennel — who is 25 and several decades younger than the rest of his team — said his friends are interested in the kind of conversation and community that comes with something like the Friars’ Briar.

What drew him to the tournament was an invitation from Bartel when he was in residence at the school where she works and the warm welcome he received from his fellow curlers.

Kennel said it was refreshing to spend time with a mix of people of different ages. The fact that they all represented a mix of different faiths, too, “flies in the face of what a lot of people see as very closed off religious experience,” he said.

The tournament has become so important to him, he has not only joined its board as vice president but has also had the Friars’ Briar logo — a broom-wielding cleric in a billowing robe perched on a speeding rock — tattooed on his ankle.

“It was so immediately welcoming, why wouldn’t I want to invest myself here?”

Friars’ Briar Association vice president Reid Kennel, who works for the Mennonite Central Committee, shows off his tattoo of the Friars’ Briar logo on Friday, March 6, 2020, during the Friars’ Briar, an annual Canadian clergy curling tournament held this year at the KW Granite Club in Waterloo, Ontario.RNS photo by Emily McFarlan Miller

Article courtesy of RNS Religion News Service

Waterloo Schedule and Round Robin Draw Sheet Now Available…

The Drawmaster has spoken and the Round Robin event draws for Monday through Wednesday are now available.  There are 18 Teams in this year’s Friars’ Briar event in Waterloo, Ontario.  Unfortunately, a number of ‘western’ teams could not muster teams this year. Ontario, however, has come through with fully 15 teams (with a bit of assistance from Wisconsin!) to make the event viable for this year.

The groupings for the Round Robin event are the following:

Group A Group B Group C
Spare Rocks (W) Bartel (W) Nichol
Winger Short Freidrich (W)
Wall (W) Borsellino (W) First Rocks
D. Martin Ludolph Team Victoria (W)
Schwanz (W) Wardlaw (W) M. Martin
Niagara Rocks Foliot  Diller Harder (W)

Note: (W) denote teams ‘deemed’ to be ‘western teams’ to determine the East/West competition

Two issues are to be noted for this year’s FB.  The first is that draws begin Monday morning (as evening  times are not available at the rink)  Teams were warned, therefore, to arrive on Sunday so as to be available for the Monday draws.  Secondly, as evenings will be ‘free time’ (save for the Thursday banquet), the planning committee is providing options to visit facilities in Waterloo or watching the ‘big Brier’ on television.

The planning committee is anxiously awaiting arrival of teams and some good curling during the week.

See the Schedule of Events

See the Schedule for the Round Robin Event

Another Year – Another Friars’ Briar

It’ the New Year, and the new President Pam Bartel has recently alerted the Friars’ Briar community via email that the Waterloo planning committee is working towards another memorable Friars’ Briar in March 2020. Registrations are open with registration forms for teams and individuals available on the website as usual. Be sure to look at the Information tabs for Travel and Accommodation recommendations.

Some changes of note should be taken into consideration. As the KW Granite Club ice is not available for Monday night, the Briar will have Monday morning and afternoon draws to accommodate. It is strongly advised, therefore, that Friars plan to get to Waterloo on Sunday, so as to be available for the Monday draws.

As well, the planning committee has included all luncheon costs in the registration. This is in addition to the usual Banquet, Opening and Closing meals that have always been included in the registration costs.

That said, let’s get the registrations in and help the Frairs’ Briar in Waterloo this March 2 through 6, 2020 be another successful gathering!

Team Pictures – Winnipeg – 2019

(Click on picture to enlarge, then Copy/Paste to your Word or other ‘document’ program for printing)

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