Ryan Fry's continued off-ice improvement showing on the ice
Member of Team Jacobs had taken indefinite leave after Red Deer Curling Classic in November
His curling comeback couldn't have gone much better.
In his first two games back with Team Brad Jacobs after taking an indefinite leave to work on personal growth, Ryan Fry was nearly perfect.
Fry last played as a substitute at a World Curling Tour event in Red Deer, Alta., last November. He was ejected with teammates Jamie Koe, Chris Schille and DJ Kidby for what organizers called unsportsmanlike behaviour resulting from excessive drinking.
On Wednesday, Fry returned to the ice with his teammates to play their first game at the Grand Slam of Curling Meridian Canadian Open against Team Peter De Cruz.
Jacobs battled back with three points in the seventh end, but would eventually lose a hard-fought battle on the last rock, 6-5.
Fry finished the game curling 97 per cent, which was the best in the game.
How we handle adversity can show how strong we can really be. 2018 threw a few punches...glancing blows. I felt the love and am turning the hatred in to fuel. Excited to respond to the challenge and continue to fight with a healthy mind and refreshed focus. Much love in 2019 ❤️—@ryanfry79
"It was great to be back out there with the guys," Fry said. "I have spent the last seven years competing with them, over that time they have become three of my best friends."
In the team's second game of the day against Team Kleiter from Saskatchewan, Jacobs and company found their rhythm, cruising to a 7-3 victory.
Fry once again out-curled everyone on the ice, shooting 96 per cent.
"My personal performance doesn't mean as much to me as what I bring to the team," he said. "I think this experience allowed me to take a step back and understand my roll."
The team is back on the ice Thursday night in North Battleford.
The last two months certainly haven't been easy for Fry and his teammates, as they've juggled their line-up, all while trying to find the best way to come together as a team again.
Jacobs, E.J. Harnden and Ryan Harnden found replacements in Marc Kennedy and Matt Wozniak for the two events Fry missed during his leave.
It seemed to work magically at the Canada Cup with Kennedy throwing third stones — the team won the championship.
And it looked as though they might keep the good times rolling in Newfoundland and Labrador at the next Slam with Wozniak filling in, going undefeated in the round robin. They would lose out in the quarterfinals, however.
Now they're back together, the team who won Olympic gold in 2014.
Fry has taken these last number of weeks to reflect on all that's transpired. In fact, in the days that followed the incident he was quick to apologize to all involved and issued a statement saying the incident "made me take a hard look in the mirror to understand what fuelled my unprofessional actions."
Fry says he'll continue that self-reflection as he continues to grow on and off the ice.
"It was hard to take a leave but it was needed and I think in the end it will ultimately bring us closer together as a team but more importantly as friends," he said.
"Hopefully going forward I can continue to play well but also grow as a teammate."