The winter sport of Crokicurl that has taken Canada by storm has spread south of the border to Maple Grove, where it's making its Minnesota debut.

Never heard of it? The game combines aspects of curling and the popular Canadian board game Crokinole. It's played on an ice rink with poles as obstacles as competitors try to slide light-weight curling rocks across the ice and land closest to the center.

Maple Grove in late January built an octagon-shaped Crokicurl rink to try to lure people outside during the coldest months of the year. The game will be featured during the city's Wonders of Winter celebration Saturday.

"We hope people will come and try it and embrace winter with a new activity," said Tanya Huntley, a recreation program specialist.

The city held a Crokicurl "Try It" day last month and more than 50 people played a round or two, Huntley said.

Crokinole is a game in which players flick small discs across a wooden board and, like in curling, score points based on the distance they land from the center. Liz Wreford, an avid Crokinole player, and a co-worker at Winnipeg-based Public City Architecture realized the game was similar to curling and took the game to ice.

In 2017, they launched Crokicurl at a city gathering spot in Winnipeg and "it was a huge instant success," Wreford said. "It went crazy."

The game quickly spread across Canada, and in Winnipeg, mayors came to compete in an international tournaspiel, a term combining tournament and bonspiel, Wreford said.

Wreford credited the game's rapid growth to its being a new winter sport that is highly social and can be played by anybody at any age.

"Most sports take a lot of skills, but you don't need any special skills or equipment like skates," she said. "It's amazing to see it spread and become a beloved part of winter."

The game has been slow to catch on in the United States. Wisconsin is the only other state known to have a Crokicurl rink, Wreford said.

Crokicurl is the latest effort by Maple Grove's parks department to get people outside in winter by offering nontraditional activities. Last year the department held ice bowling during the mid-winter party and the year before created a human foosball court.

Huntley, who is from Alberta and was familiar with Crokicurl, hopes the game catches on in Maple Grove. The city put up wood boards to line an ice sheet at Central Park and used spare parts from old lacrosse goals for posts. A container holding rocks sits rink side, so everything is provided.

"It's free. All you need to do is bring a friend," Huntley said.

In the past two weeks when it has not been brutally cold, a few people have played. If enough embrace it and there is interest, the city might be open to starting a league next year, Huntley said.

Wreford has a few tips for first-timers. She said it works well to place a foot against the sideboards and push off. And she says, "Wear knee pads or snow pants, because you spend a lot of time on your knees."