For nine years, Joey Hyde-Wilson has been organizing the annual sturling bonspiel of the Cochrane Curling Club and it's a sport she will continue to promote to encourage people to get off of the couch and stay active.

The annual one-day bonspiel was another hit on Feb. 17 with 24 teams participating, including 13 from out-of-town. Each team played three stakes games, where there's a chance to win a few bucks as an added incentive.

Sturling involves teams of two using a specialized stick that attaches to the rock's handle to deliver to stone down the ice. It also allows slide curlers to participate and some participated in this bonspiel. Either way, there's no sweeping between the hog lines, so the weight and accuracy of the throws largely become the key to your team's success.

It's a faster game than curling and most games last about an hour. By eliminating much of the sweeping, it's also not as physically demanding and opens the door for more people to continue to enjoy curling who may have health ailments and it's not uncommon to see people in wheelchairs participating.

Elmer Stang continues to enjoy curling, thanks to sturling. It's a sport that allows all to participate."I've been curling with a stick for 15 years," says Hyde-Wilson. "When I came to Cochrane Curling Club there were a lot of people who came up to me and asked me to teach them to play with a stick because they were dealing with ailments."

Over the years she has taught the sport to over 70 people between Cochrane, Springbank and Calgary.

In addition to the bonspiel, Hyde-Wilson is the curling club's sturling league coordinator.

"It keeps you in the game," she says. "I will continue to organize this league as long as I can get one person away from sitting in front of the TV. If I can get that person on the ice, I've done my job."

For some, sturling is about remaining active in the sport of curling. For others, it's therapeutic. Such is the case of a friend of hers who suffered a stroke and wanted to continue in the sport for fun but also because he saw the therapeutic value.

Bonspiel organizer Joey Hyde-Wilson, left, sweeps a rock into the house.

"When he first came out on the ice he didn't have enough upper strength in his body to get over the first hog line. He stands in the hack and now he can throw it all the way. He is now making shots and all sorts of stuff."

Certainly, the bulk of the players at the bonspiel were seniors, the oldest being 91, but it also captured the attention of Drew Brawegen, 14, of Lethbridge who formed a team with his older sister.

Brawegen says it was his first time trying sturling, although he's part of a two-player mixed doubles league in Lethbridge. 

"It's been a lot of fun," says Brawegen. "It's our first year in the league."

 Hyde-Wilson has been curling since she was 22 and tells about how it became a sport of passion.

 "Apparently, it was in my marriage contract, although I didn't see it there the first time I looked," she said with a sly grin.

"It's all about the love of the game and I adore the sport."

Sturling provincials were being held the same weekend in Rocky Mountain House and several Cochrane sturlers participated.

For more information on sturling, you can go here.