A curling team skipped by Jamie Koe was ejected from the Red Deer Curling Classic on Sunday for unsportsmanlike behavior after the team arrived for the game excessively drunk.

curling tournament ejection drunk
Former Canadian Olympian Ryan Fry was ejected along with his teammates from a curling tournament for unsportsmanlike behavior after showing up drunk to a game. (Image: Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)

Koe and teammates Ryan Fry, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby were thrown out of the triple-knockout event during their fourth game, after already being on the verge of elimination with a 1-2 record in the competition.

Team Causes Locker Room Damage, Broken Brooms

Few curling fans would deny that the sport and alcohol often go hand-in-hand. Almost all curling clubs have a bar on site, and it is traditional for the winning team to buy a round for the losing team after a game.

But despite that culture, showing up for a game drunk would be frowned upon in a casual league game, let alone in a competitive World Curling Tour event like the one in Red Deer, Alberta. And according to officials at the tournament, Koe and his teammates were far beyond the point of acceptable behavior when it came time for them to play an elimination match against Josh Heidt.

“I don’t know if they were drinking before they got here. I think a lot of us assume they were drinking before they got here,” Red Deer Curling Centre manager Wade Thurber told the Calgary Herald. “Jamie Koe was too drunk to play so he didn’t even play. So, they’re curling three-handed and in particular [Fry] was having anger management issues, we’ll call it, breaking brooms and swearing and kind of causing a scene.”

According to Thurber, Fry broke three brooms, and was disruptive to the point that it was interrupting games on other sheets. The team also caused damage in the locker room, including to equipment belonging to other teams.

“At the end of the day it was all unacceptable behavior,” Thurber said. “We had lots of complaints from other fellow curlers and spectators. We met as a committee and made the decision to remove them from the spiel.”

Fry, Koe Issue Apologies

The best-known member of the team was Fry, who normally plays with the Brad Jacobs team that is currently ranked fifth in the world by the World Curling Tour. Fry won a gold medal for Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and was substituting on the Koe team for the tournament.

Following the tournament, Fry issued an apology for his actions.

“I came to the event to play and enjoy the sport,” Fry said in a statement. “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.”

Koe – the younger brother of Kevin Koe, who represented Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics – has played in the Brier (the Canadian men’s curling championship) a dozen times as a representative for the Northwest Territories. His team is currently ranked 315th on the WCT Order of Merit list.

Koe also issued an apology for his team’s behavior via social media.

“On behalf of my team, I would like to apologize to everyone involved in the 2018 Red Deer Curling Classic,” Koe wrote in a statement released on Twitter. “Due to a lapse in judgement on Saturday, we contributed to a unpleasant experience for others.”