During a game of curling, there is always a slight chance that something may hit a stone while it is in motion. The sweepers may accidentally hit the stone with their broom, or a hat may fall on to the stone. This is called burning a stone. We will now learn what to do if a stone is burned.
Burning a Stone
If any part of the throwing team's broom, articles of clothing, etc. touch the stone as it moves down the ice, the stone is considered to be burned and is immediately removed from play. This is because anything that touches the stone will alter its trajectory, no matter how large or small. Therefore, the stone was disturbed before it reached its final position. Unlike Hog Line Violations, there is no sensor or device that can determine when a stone is burned. Therefore, it is expected that curlers be honest if they burn a stone.
REMEMBER: As we have learned time and time again, curling is a game of camaraderie and respect. A curler would rather lose than win unfairly.
Accidentally Remove a Stone
Every now and then, a stone is accidentally removed from play. While there is not a specific penalty or rule broken, it was an honest mistake that needs to be fixed. Curling is a game of skill, respect, and honesty.
Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes, curling stones are accidentally removed when they weren't supposed to be removed. For example, someone throws a takeout, and a stone ends up near the sideline. Someone believed that it hit the sideline border and rolled back into play. Therefore, they remove it from play. However, that stone never reached the sideline, and should have remained where it was.
When a stone is accidentally removed from play, someone on either team may notice it. If someone notices a stone was accidentally removed from play, they should notify their skip immediately. Then, the skips will figure out its prior location on the sheet. Usually, the skip/team that was inconvenienced by the mistake will propose a location of where they think it should be placed, and the opposing team's skip either agrees or suggests a spot that they believe was closer to where the stone would have been.
After the skips determine where the stone is supposed to be, it is placed in that location, just as if it was never removed in the first place. Ideally, there is nearly no difference between where the stone originally was stopped, and where is was moved after being accidentally disturbed.
As you and your teammate are sweeping a stone, you notice that the edge of your broom just grazed the stone as it was coming to a stop. The stone was going to stop shortly anyways. Did you burn the stone? Unfortunately, you did burn the stone. Even though it was going to stop momentarily, you made contact with the stone while it was in motion. Therefore, the stone must be removed from play. If your stone made contact with any other stones during the shot, they must be placed back in their original position.
As you and your teammate are sweeping a stone, you see your teammates hat fly off and land on the ice. It did not touch the stone, but it did touch the ice. Did your teammate burn the stone? Fortunately, your teammate did not burn the stone. Since the hat landed on the ice, and did not touch the stone, it was not burned. Therefore, the shot can continue, and the stone will remain in-play.