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Two common delivery sticks available in Canada
January 11, 2006  Kelowna BC

Growing interest in alternative deliveries among curlers whose knees are no longer able to stand the abuse of the traditional slide from the hack has spawned a cottage industry of delivery stick manufacturers.  Wheelchair curlers have been fortunate to find ready made delivery systems that do not involve leaning out over the side of the chair and flinging the rock from the hand, though that may still be the best option for some.

The sticks feature a pole with a bracket that attaches to the handle of the rock, allowing the stone not only to be pushed, but also rotated on release. With practice they allow an accurate push forward, and some use a cuff that goes around the handle, claiming to allow the stone to be drawn back prior to delivery without inhibiting the release.

Being able to move a stone forward and back, avoiding the tendency of a stationary rock to stick to the ice surface thus provoking a jerk in the delivery, would be a valuable innovation. However I am sceptical of the present "cuff' sticks to allow a clean release, and will look at two manufacturers whose equipment I use when I curl.

"The Extender" is the most commonly seen delivery stick among wheelchair curlers in Canada, in part because of their sponsorship of Ontario curlers, and because of their generosity in donating equipment to CurlBC when their program began.

It uses a lightweight plastic bracket that threads onto a standard adjustable broom handle. When you buy the complete item you get a colour matched handle with a decal. You can also use your own handles, available at nominal cost at any hardware store, which is just as well because the mechanism that allows the length of the handle to be adjusted is cheaply made and won't take frequent adjusting.

The hinged bracket that fits over the top of the rock handle allows the rock to be pushed forward and released smoothly with rotation. The bracket is fragile however, and while it will withstand proper use, it will not last long if used to move rocks into position, or comes into contact with rocks in any way other than the way it is designed. Our local curling supply store stopped carrying them after complaints that they were too fragile. Having said that I have used one for 3 years without breaking it.

Summing up:

Pros - lightweight, simple to use, threaded bracket fits any standard hardware store handle.
Cons - fragile, especially when used to prod rocks around, bracket does not expand for use with curling rocks with thick handles, expensive for a piece of lightweight moulded plastic, but then you're paying for the idea.

The other delivery stick I use is called "The Adjuster" and I use it because sheets 5 though 9 in our 12 sheet club have for no explicable reason big fat handles that wont fit "The Extender's" bracket.

"The Adjuster" uses two pieces of shaped stainless steel that slide together to form the bracket. The pieces can be fitted to different widths of rock handle and tightened to provide a similar function to "The Extender". The bracket is not threaded, and can be fastened to a stick by tightening a friction screw. A more permanent solution would be to drill retaining screws into the stick through the holes provided on the bracket. This would already have been done had I purchased both the stick and bracket from the manufacturer.

Summing up:

Pros - sturdy, adjustable (important if you curl in Kelowna)
Cons - heavy, adjustment can be fiddly, needs to be fastened by screws into a handle, which makes swapping handles a chore.

Recommendation:

I use "The Extender" when I can because it is lighter and that matters to me. But I am grateful for "The Adjuster" when I have to play on the centre sheets.

 
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