Northwest Territories curler Jamie Koe and his team were removed from a World Curling Tour event on the weekend for “unacceptable behaviour.”
Staff working at the Red Deer Curling Classic described Koe’s rink as “extremely drunk” when they went out to play.
A sign posted at the venue read: “Due to the unacceptable behaviour from Team Jamie Koe, the Red Deer Curling Classic Committee has disqualified this team from further play this weekend.”
Speaking to Cabin Radio, Koe said the actions of one player were to blame. Ryan Fry – a 2014 Olympic gold medallist – acknowledged his role in a statement to CBC on Sunday, saying: “My actions were truly disrespectful and embarrassing.”
Koe said: “The unfortunate thing is one of our guys got a little out of control.
“He was a little loud and disrespectful. Things got out of control. We did not fight the decision. We talked to the club yesterday – each of us went and talked to them personally – and we are all good with them now.
“It’s unfortunate that it’s my name on the team.”
‘A little too far’
The story of the rink’s expulsion had acquired viral qualities by Monday, appearing on the websites of VICE, USA Today, the UK-based Guardian, and others.
One of Koe’s rink – Red Deer’s own Chris Schille – posted angrily on Twitter that the team had been disqualified “for funding the bar.”
Schille later deleted that tweet, replacing it with a statement which in part read: “We took our fun a little too far, which led to curlers and fans becoming uncomfortable and upset.”
Schille said the team had apologized to its opponents at the time, and to staff.
“There is definitely a line there as to what is OK and what is not OK,” Koe continued. “Something happened in the one game there. We take responsibility for that and we need to move on.
“We’ve all got to learn from it.”
In a later statement published via Twitter, Koe added: “Although I removed myself from the last game before it started, the actions from the team led to our disqualification.
“I will be taking steps to ensure this never happens again.”
A CBC report on Monday, following a separate interview with Koe, reported he had removed himself from the game in question as he was too drunk to play.
Wade Thurber, facility manager at the Red Deer Curling Centre, told CBC Sports on Sunday: “They were extremely drunk, and breaking brooms and swearing, and just unacceptable behaviour that nobody wants to watch or hear.
“There was some damage in the locker room and other teams complaining about their stuff being kicked around in the locker room.”
The Team Jamie Koe Twitter account appeared to have deleted at least one post showing Koe and team-mates drinking on Sunday. The deleted post carried the hashtag “#TeamCorona”.