Super Subs?

We’ve all been there, trying to get a sub to play for us last minute. But what is the etiquette on subs?

When you have a newb subbing, it is usually pretty clear cut. They throw lead, and you go about your business. But what if you get a sub from the club list who is experienced, or a skip on another team?

I realize it is sometimes hard to ask an experienced curler to throw lead in a relatively less competitive league. But having them skip or vice skip can also be unfair to your opponent.

We’ve all played teams where a really good skip can win a game on his own. If I put a team of Pete Fenson and 3 first-time curlers out on the ice, I’d bet $100 Fenson’s team beats any team in our league if he’s allowed to skip. Same team with him throwing lead probably loses every game.

In asking around, it would seem that the etiquette of subs is that they really should not throw anything other than lead or 2nd. This way they can affect the game, but it still comes down to the team’s skip and vice to close out the end.

Agree? Disagree?

Good curling.

Experienced sub (Nick) and newb sub (Joel) both throw lead or 2nd on team McGovern.


  1. Tried to edit this in the post, but it turns out there is no official curling rule on subs.

    Canadian Curling Association: subs are allowed to play in any position as long as the rotation is declared before the match.

    But some clubs/leagues have specific rules on subs not being allowed to skip/vice skip. Wassau has one. SPCC does not seem to have one.

  2. ** Edit ** I posted this about the same time as Casey, so it is fairly redundant.

    It is an interesting subject. I just did a quick search and could not find an official stance from the SPCC on subs (although I thought that I saw it once in the past). I did find plenty of other curling clubs that state that subs should only throw lead or second. However…the Canadian Curling Association’s published “Rules of Curling For General Play” states that a substitute can play any position as long as it is established before the game.

    I think that it is a matter of courtesy that a sub shouldn’t be put in a position to give the rink a competitive edge.

  3. The club does have a rule about subs, but it only applies to playdowns.

    Sub Rules for Play-downs: “A sub may not play below the highest position they play in regular league play”.
    According to the SPCC it is only a competitive advantage for a skip to play a lower position

    Casey, I think you are seeing this from a pretty narrow viewpoint. New players default to lead because there is time to recover from their mistakes, but a good lead can control how an end will be played. I also don’t know many skips that would agree to sub but refuse to throw lead, it’s great practice and a very difficult position to step into.
    That being said, I don’t think it is appropriate to have someone sub at the skip position that you know is much better than your normal skip. Casey or I shouldn’t call up Fenson or Schuster to sub for us at skip, but I wouldn’t have a problem with them throwing any other position and I wouldn’t see it as out of line for me to skip Casey’s team as a sub.

    I’ll take that bet any day of the week. Put your money on the table, get the match set up and I’ll be there.

  4. Yeah, I agree a good lead can do a lot for a team… our lead has helped us all year. And we’ve played teams where the lead was a sub that was skip on another team, and it was a significant advantage in how the ends played out.

    I guess my point isn’t about the significance of the lead. All rocks are important in an end. My point is that the last few rocks are that much more important in deciding the score.

    Missing a draw/gaur/take-out on the 3rd rock is bad, but can be made up. Missing the draw/take-out with the hammer could swing the entire game 3-4 points very easily.

    I guess it is a pick your poison of sorts. SPCC thinks playing a skip lead is a big advantage. I’d say playing that guy as skip or vice is a bigger advantage.

    And if you can get Fenson here, I’ll find the 3 newbs to curl with him.

    Warm up your checkbook!

  5. Oh, and to your point of subbing for other teams, Sean. If I’m facing a team, I’d much rather you not throw skip for them.

    Like if I’m playing Lichty and he decides he wants you to throw vice or something over one of his other players, I think that gives Lichty an advantage over having you throw lead. Just my opinion.

  6. Obviously we saw last week how important a skips rocks can be. In the 6th end you guys scored three because I botched a takeout, in the 7th we scored one because I made a great draw and the 8th you didn’t have to even through your last rock because I missed. Three ends that lived and died based on what I did as a skip.
    The way I look at it is that if your first 6 rocks are played right then the other team’s skip doesn’t even have a chance to play for 1.

  7. Hi – long time listener, first time caller.

    I curl at the Detroit Lakes Curling Club. Our league rules require that subs throw lead. While a skip sub can do a lot of good as a lead, they can do even better as a vice or a skip.

    If you take casey’s team, and sit out streff (because he sucks) and bring in Pete Fenson, casey’s team is certainly better with fenson as skip (if Casey moves down to vice).