Less than a week after their semifinal loss at the 2019 Brier, Team Brad Jacobs announced its breakup.
On Friday morning, the team took to its social media channels to announce third Ryan Fry will be leaving at the conclusion of this season.
“After seven amazing years together, which resulted in a Brier win, an Olympic Gold Medal, multiple Grand Slam titles and being one of the best teams in our sport for many years we feel as though it is time to try something different – A fresh start,” the team wrote on Facebook.
Lead Ryan Harnden, second E.J. Harnden and skip Brad Jacobs will continue to play together and now begin the search to replace Fry.
“Fry will be exploring alternative options for next season,” the post read.
The team is coming off yet another strong performance at the men’s national championship. It finished second overall after the championship round before losing in the 1 vs. 2 Page Playoff game and then losing again in the semifinals against Brendan Bottcher.
Honoured to have the opportunity to go back to the Brier and play in my home province. Thanks to everyone for all their continued support. A little adversity can provide a mountain of perspective 🙌🏼
“What an amazing ride the last seven years have been,” said Fry. “Over that time, Brad, E.J. and Ryan have become some of my closest friends and I wish them all the best moving forward.”
The team will remain together to close out this year’s curling season — it will play the last two slams in Toronto and Saskatoon before the team splits.
“Although this was not and will not be easy for any of us, we are going to enjoy the last two events of the season, have a few more good battles together on the pebbled ice and do our best to finish our time together as champions,” said Jacobs.
Brier and Olympic glory
It was almost as if it happened overnight. The team from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., burst onto the curling scene in 2013 and over the next year captured the Brier title, Olympic trials title and 2014 Olympic gold medal.
Jacobs, Fry and the Harnden brothers were brash, built and really didn’t care what people thought about them.
In a lot of ways they were catalysts in changing the perception of curlers — the team was never afraid to show emotion on the ice, including fist-pumps after made shots and brooms slams after missed shots.
WATCH | Team Jacobs scores extra-ends win against Team Gushue at Brier:
“The common theme for this team when it was formed was that we all wanted to be the best in the world and we did just that. However, more important to me was gaining another family member and that is Ryan Fry,” said Ryan Harnden.
They were always a threat to win in every curling tournament they competed in.
“I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been part of this amazing team, which achieved incredible feats. However, despite all the success, what I will cherish the most are the fun times we had together and the lifelong friendships that will remain,” E.J. Harnden said.
‘Extremely drunk’ in Red Deer
Controversy surrounded the team in late November after news broke that Fry had been part of a team kicked out of the Red Deer Curling Classic for “unacceptable behaviour” that included being “extremely drunk.”
He was serving as a spare on a team alongside Jamie Koe, Chris Schille, and DJ Kidby when the four were ejected from the World Curling Tour event and forced to forfeit their final match.
After receiving numerous complaints from opponents and spectators, the tournament committee at the Red Deer Curling Centre was compelled to intervene.
“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,'” facility manager Wade Thurber told CBC Sports.
“There was some damage in the locker room and other teams complaining about their stuff being kicked around in the locker room. So at the end of the day, it was like ‘OK, that’s enough of this gong show.’ The committee for the bonspiel collectively decided that we needed to remove them from the spiel for this year and what happens down the road, I’m not sure yet.”
After the incident Fry was apologetic.
“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 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.”
Days later Fry announced he would be taking an indefinite leave from the team. He wound up missing two events — the Canada Cup and a slam in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We’re all very disappointed,” Jacobs said from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont after the incident.
“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. Really at this point, we’re just taking the necessary steps to handle it internally and that’s really where we’re at.”
Marc Kennedy played in Fry’s absence at the Canada Cup and the team went onto to win the event.
At this point Team Jacobs has not indicated who might be replacing Fry on the team.