Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

A curling team’s unusual intoxicated behaviour, which got the players kicked out of the Red Deer Curling Classic on Saturday, has been described as “disrespectful” and “unacceptable.”

Skip Jamie Koe and his team from Yellowknife, N.W.T, were so intoxicated that Koe didn’t make it on to the ice Saturday, says Red Deer Curling Centre manager Wade Thurber.

“We had complaints from all the other players and spectators, and it’s not acceptable in our view, and so we decided to remove the team from the bonspiel… So they forfeited the rest of the games for the rest of the weekend,” said Thurber on Monday.

The team was tossed from the tournament Saturday night in a move that was announced Sunday by the World Curling Tour, which oversees the $35,000 event.

Ryan Fry, a 2014 Olympic champion, broke three brooms and was “the biggest problem,” according to Thurber.

“It’s not acceptable to show your temper, break brooms, and swearing, trashing the locker room – it’s unacceptable by any player,” Thurber said.

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Fry, who normally plays third for Team Brad Jacobs, was filling in as a substitute on a Koe team that included Chris Schille and DJ Kidby.

Koe, who has represented the Northwest Territories at several national championships, tried a practice slide before Saturday’s game, but it did not go well and he decided to sit out.

“He was too drunk to play,” Thurber said. “They played three-handed.”

The team has apologized for their behaviour. Thurber said they have offered to pay for damages at the club, which won’t be an expensive fix.

“It’s more the principle of the matter … you don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players,” Thurber said.

“I would like to sincerely apologize to the fans, participants and organizers of the Red Deer Curling Classic,” Fry said in a statement issued by Curling Canada on Monday.

“I came to the event to play and enjoy the sport, but a bad lapse in judgment affected the experience for others. My actions were truly disrespectful and embarrassing — the committee was right to disqualify us from play.”

Thurber said he does not know how many drinks each of them had.

“Our bar staff (at the curling club lounge) eventually cut them off, then they went down to curl, but they had already crossed that line of too drunk.”

Thurber said all the teams who participate in the bonspiel are expected to behave appropriately – like professionals, noting that all teams pay $1,000 to enter.

The curling club manager said drinking and curling often go hand in hand, but not to this extent. He said most teams drink at the end of the day’s games.

Thurber said the committee hasn’t decided whether any or all players will be allowed to play in the bonspiel again, adding he welcomes the team’s apology.

“Going forward, hopefully, they’ve learned a lesson and learning to control their emotions and temper and be more respectful to everybody.”

The incident could serve as a teaching moment for all players, said Thurber.

Team Koe’s last game on Sunday was declared a forfeit.

“Due to lapse in judgment on Saturday, we contributed to (an) unpleasant experience for others,” Koe said Monday in a statement. “Although I removed myself from the last game before it started, the actions from the team led to our disqualification. We were disrespectful and the committee was right to disqualify us from further play, which we did not argue.”

Fifty six teams took part in the Red Deer Curling Classic, including squads from Canada, the U.S., Japan, China, Switzerland and Scotland. The weekend bonspiel ended Monday.

With files from The Canadian Press

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Wade Thurber, Red Deer Curling Centre manager, said a curling team’s disrespectful behaviour over the weekend at Red Deer Curling Classic got the team removed from the bonspeil. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

This note was seen at the Pidherney Centre in Red Deer. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff

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