Kennedy, Woz­niak will sub for Fry, Ja­cobs says

Tillsonburg News - - SPORTS - Gre­Gory StronG

Team Brad Ja­cobs will turn to a cou­ple of curl­ing veter­ans to fill the va­cancy cre­ated by Ryan Fry’s de­ci­sion to take an in­def­i­nite leave af­ter his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion from the Red Deer Curl­ing Clas­sic.

Two-time Olympian Marc Kennedy will play as a sub­sti­tute at the Dec. 5-9 Canada Cup in Este­van, Sask., while Matt Woz­niak will fill in at the Dec. 11-16 Na­tional in Con­cep­tion Bay South, N.L., the team said Mon­day in a state­ment.

“It’s mixed emo­tions,” Kennedy said Mon­day from Toronto be­fore board­ing a flight to Ed­mon­ton. “I’m ex­cited to get back out there, to test out my hip and to have a chance to play with a pretty in­cred­i­ble team. I’m look­ing for­ward to that. I know they’ve been through a tough cou­ple weeks here.

“Hope­fully I can come in and add a pos­i­tive spark and help get them through this dif­fi­cult time that Team Ja­cobs is go­ing through.”

Fry an­nounced last week that he would be tak­ing a break from the Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.-based team to fo­cus on his “growth and self­im­prove­ment.” His de­ci­sion came a few days af­ter he was ejected from a World Curl­ing Tour event for what or­ga­niz­ers called un­sports­man­like be­hav­iour re­sult­ing from ex­ces­sive drink­ing.

Fry, who was play­ing as a sub­sti­tute in Red Deer, was kicked out of the com­pe­ti­tion with team­mates Jamie Koe, Chris Schille and DJ Kidby. All four play­ers later is­sued state­ments to apol­o­gize for their ac­tions.

Or­ga­niz­ers said Fry broke three brooms and that the team used foul lan­guage and was dis­rup­tive to other play­ers on the ice. The WCT fined Fry $1,000 and said that his be­hav­iour was the rea­son for the team’s dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

“We are for­tu­nate to have such great play­ers step up and help us out in this time of need while Ryan takes the time he needs to man­age his well-be­ing,” Ja­cobs said in an email. “It says a lot that two great play­ers in Marc and Matt are will­ing to sup­port us. We know they will fill Ryan’s shoes very well and give us a great op­por­tu­nity to com­pete as we try to win the Canada Cup and the Na­tional.

“We are ex­cited to be only one week away from com­pet­ing. Last week was a whirl­wind for our team and quite stress­ful but thank­fully it is be­hind us now. Our fo­cus has now shifted to do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to be pre­pared for the Canada Cup. It’s cru­cial we main­tain a healthy mind­set and are well rested go­ing into the next few weeks of com­pe­ti­tion.”

Fry, 40, won Olympic gold at the 2014 Sochi Games with the Ja­cobs team. They also won the Tim Hor­tons Brier in 2013.

Kennedy, 36, won Olympic gold at the 2010 Van­cou­ver Games with skip Kevin Martin. He re­turned to the Pyeongchang Games this year with skip Kevin Koe but did not reach the podium.

Woz­niak, 35, was a long­time sec­ond on a Win­nipeg team skipped by Mike McEwen. That rink dis­banded af­ter last sea­son with McEwen form­ing a new team with skip Reid Car­ruthers.

Woz­niak will play his fa­mil­iar po­si­tion with Team Ja­cobs with E.J. Harn­den mov­ing to third, the team said in a post on Twit­ter.

Kennedy an­nounced last March that he would be tak­ing a break from com­pet­i­tive curl­ing to recharge and rest a nag­ging hip in­jury. He took on a con­sult­ing po­si­tion with Curl­ing Canada and has been prac­tis­ing through the au­tumn.

He also teamed with Rachel Ho­man last month to win a mixed dou­bles event in Sher­wood Park, Alta.

“I think once I get out there and start play­ing a cou­ple ends, I feel it will all come back pretty quickly,” Kennedy said. “Hope­fully I can make as many shots as the team needs me to.”

The Canada Cup men’s and women’s win­ners will earn spots in the 2021 Road to the Roar Pre- Tri­als. They will also qual­ify for a Curl­ing World Cup event next sea­son.

Fry has rep­re­sented North­ern On­tario on five oc­ca­sions at the Brier. He also won four provin­cial ti­tles (2009-12) with skip Brad Gushue out of New­found­land and Labrador and won a Man­i­toba crown in 2007 with skip Jeff Stoughton.

Team Ja­cobs, which holds the No. 5 po­si­tion in the men’s world rank­ings, won a Grand Slam ti­tle ear­lier this month in Thun­der Bay, Ont.

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS fILES

Marc Kennedy, above, and vet­eran curler Matt Woz­niak will fill in for Ryan Fry on Team Brad Ja­cobs at two sig­nif­i­cant curl­ing com­pe­ti­tions next month.

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