World Curling Tour considering conduct policy after 'extremely drunk' curlers ejected from bonspiel
'This is very uncommon,' says head of WCT operations Gerry Geurts
CALGARY — In the wake of four curlers being ejected from a bonspiel in Red Deer, Alta., over the weekend, the World Curling Tour says it's now considering a Code of Conduct policy.
The curling foursome of Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby was kicked out of the Red Deer Curling Classic for "unacceptable conduct" that included being "extremely drunk." They were kicked out of the event by organizers on Saturday after breaking brooms, damaging equipment in the locker room and swearing.
Now the head of operations for the WCT says they are going through an internal review to look at what happened in Red Deer. He says they don't currently have any policies around this sort of incident, something they are now looking at.
"This is very uncommon. Very rarely do we deal with incidents like this," Gerry Geurts said. "This went into a direction that was beyond having a few drinks after a game."
Geurts says he was first alerted to the unfolding situation in Red Deer when he noticed the team had forfeited a game.
"That was kind of surprising", he said.
Geurts says he was soon inundated with emails from concerned fans and coaches about the behaviour of the curlers.
"We posted a statement about it immediately on our WCT social media channels."
The team of Jamie Koe, Ryan Fry, Chris Schille and DJ Kidby has been ejected from the Red Deer Curling Classic due to unsportsmanlike behaviour, forfeiting their remaining game. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/curling?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#curling</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wct?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#wct</a><a href="https://t.co/DmrezFmzwq">https://t.co/DmrezFmzwq</a>—@worldcurltour
Geurts says the WCT is now awaiting an official report of what happened to be filed by the organizing committee of the Red Deer Curling Classic.
Red Deer Curling Club responds
Wade Thurber says he's been bombarded by media phone calls from across Canada and internationally asking what happened during the event.
Thurber is the club's facility manager and says the Red Deer Curling Classic has existed for 20 years. This year's event featured 56 teams — 28 men's and 28 women's teams from around the world.
Right now, Thurber says the organizing committee is just trying to get through the event, which wraps up on Monday.
"I had no idea when I started this event I'd be dealing with this," Thurber said.
The committee will spend the next couple of weeks looking over comments and feedback from fans, curlers and coaches about what took place before filing an official report to the WCT, Thurber says.
"We will meet after the fact and discuss what action we're going to take here in Red Deer with these four curlers," Thurber said.
The "unacceptable behaviour" — as Thurber describes it — took place Saturday. The team lost 10-5 against a team skipped by Kody Hartung. Jamie Koe was not on the ice, so the team was playing with three curlers. The teams shook hands after seven ends.
"They went out to curl and they were extremely drunk and breaking brooms and swearing and just unacceptable behaviour that nobody wants to watch or hear or listen to and it was just 'enough was enough,'" Thurber said.
There was also a small hole in the dry wall in one of the locker rooms.
Thurber says the players have been apologetic — including Fry, who has offered to pay for the damages.
Players apologetic after incident
Fry, who is normally a third on Team Brad Jacobs, was serving as a spare with Koe's team at the event. He lives in Calgary, while the rest of the team curls out of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
He says a bad lapse in judgment affected the experience for others.
"I would like to sincerely apologize to the fans, participants and organizers of the Red Deer Curling Classic," Fry said.
Skip Brad Jacobs says he's "very disappointed" with what's unfolded and that the team has been in contact with Fry.
"We in no way support that type of behaviour, whether it's displayed on or off the ice. It's absolutely unacceptable. We've shared that with Ryan [Fry]. Really at this point, we're just taking the necessary steps to handle it internally and that's really where we're at." Jacobs said.
Fry was part of the 2014 Olympic gold-medal winning curling team for Canada. He's played in 10 Briers, winning the national title and silver at the world championship in 2013.
"I came to the event to play and enjoy the sport. My actions were truly disrespectful and embarrassing — the committee was right to disqualify us from play."
"I allowed myself to lose control and I offended people with my actions. I wish nothing more than to apologize to everyone individually," Fry said.
I want to express how sorry I am to everyone affected by my actions on Saturday. I never meant to offend anyone but that’s the result of a poor decision - I have to live with the consequences and will be taking every step needed to guarantee this never happens again. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/notgivingup?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#notgivingup</a> <a href="https://t.co/3gnjkDam1W">pic.twitter.com/3gnjkDam1W</a>—@ryanfry79
Fry has since returned to the Red Deer Curling Club to meet with the members there to apologize. He also issued apologies to everyone affected.
On Monday, Jamie Koe and Chris Schille took to Twitter to also post apology statements.
My official statement regarding the 2018 Red Deer Curling Classic. <a href="https://t.co/FUEbW92dG5">pic.twitter.com/FUEbW92dG5</a>—@JKnwt
"Due to a lapse in judgment on Saturday, we contributed to an unpleasant experience for others," Koe said. "Although I removed myself from the last game before it started, the actions from the team led to our disqualification."
Schille says they took their fun a little too far.
Red Deer Curling Classic <a href="https://t.co/LKNLtzDQOH">pic.twitter.com/LKNLtzDQOH</a>—@cschille
"In the time since I have talked with other staff and board members to apologize, and to reiterate that the decision they made was the right one given the position they were put in," Schille posted on Twitter.