Road To The Olympic Games

Ryan Fry to rejoin Team Jacobs after indefinite leave from curling

Ryan Fry is set to make his return to curling next week at a Grand Slam Curling event in North Battleford, Sask., less than two months after the now infamous Red Deer Curling Classic incident.

Winnipeg native returns after he was booted from Alberta bonspiel for drunken behaviour

After being kicked out of the Alberta World Curling Tour bonspiel, Ryan Fry is set to make his return for Team Jacobs. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Ryan Fry is set to make his return to curling next week at a Grand Slam Curling event in North Battleford, Sask., less than two months after the now infamous Red Deer Curling Classic incident.  

"We are happy to have him back," Jacobs said Wednesday in an email to The Canadian Press. "We talked over the holidays as a team and Ryan said he felt good and was ready to go so we are getting back at it. We are excited about his return."

Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby were all kicked out of the Alberta World Curling Tour bonspiel for "unacceptable behaviour," which included being "extremely drunk."

Organizers said Fry broke three brooms and that the team used foul language and was disruptive to other players on the ice. All four players later issued statements to apologize for their actions.

In the days that followed, Fry, who won Olympic gold as the third on Team Jacobs, said he would be taking an indefinite leave from the team to work on personal growth and self-improvement. 

"It has made me take a hard look in the mirror to understand what fuelled my unprofessional actions," Fry said in the statement posted to Twitter.

"I am committed to taking every step possible to ensure that this never happens again, and to make amends to those who have been negatively impacted."

On Wednesday, Team Jacobs took to Twitter to announce Fry would be rejoining the team at the Canadian Open Grand Slam in North Battleford, starting Jan. 8. 

"We are excited Ryan will be back on the ice with us — here is to a successful second half of the season," the tweet said. 

As for Fry, he also took to social media to post a statement about returning to the ice. 

"How we handle adversity can show how strong we can really be. 2018 threw a few punches … glancing blows," the Winnipeg native said in a Twitter post. 

"I felt the love and am turning the hatred into fuel. Excited to respond to the challenge and continue to fight with a healthy mind and refreshed focus. Much love in 2019."

Finding replacements for the last two events

The 40-year-old Fly joined the team in April 2012 after spending nearly four seasons with Team Brad Gushue.

The team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. played two events without Fry. 

The rink had great success in its first event with third Marc Kennedy coming out of retirement to join the team in Fry's place at the Canada Cup in Estevan, defeating Kevin Koe's team in the championship game. 

Jacobs then played the next Grand Slam event in Newfoundland and Labrador with another replacement, this time getting Matt Wozniak to play second with E.J. Harnden stepping into the role of third. They went undefeated during the round-robin play before losing in the quarter-finals. 

Throughout it all the team was in constant contact with Fry, sending him messages before and after games not only to check in on the actual curling itself, but to see how he was doing.

Jacobs says the team is playing with a renewed sense of patience, perspective and passion he hopes will propel them into a great second half of the team with the 2014 Olympic champions reunited again. 

"It's a really good string of games right now," Jacobs said. "It's been a long time since we've put this many games together and felt this good overall. There have been a number of frustrating points over the last number of seasons."

The Canadian Open is set for Jan. 8-13 at the Civic Centre. Team Jacobs is set to play its opening game against Switzerland's Peter de Cruz on Jan. 9.

With files from the Canadian Press

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