HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
Coaches are the backbone of society.
And they’re presented in many different forms.
Look at your parents. You thought they were mom and dad, but really they’re your coaches, guiding you from one learning experience to another, supporting you through the highs and lows of life and teaching you the skills to move into the future.
Look at your teachers. Whether elementary or high school, university or college, they’re there to pass on the knowledge you need to be successful each year. You’ve had a full range of teachers for almost two decades to motivate, challenge and inspire you to move ahead each year and eventually into the working world.
And then there are the athletic coaches. Without them, the young girls and boys wouldn’t know how to play a sport, develop into athletes and become the high-performance national representatives seen at Olympic Games and world championships.
There are coaches for individual athletes and multiple coaches for team sports. If you truly understand the role of the coach, who is quite often relegated to background, then you can fully appreciate what his/her athlete or team has accomplished. Which leads to this question. Why aren’t all coaches given medals at major international championships? You see it in hockey, for example, but why not speed skating or alpine skiing?
Canadian high-performance athletes have some of the best coaches in the world and they’re not afraid to move from one to another to develop their performance portfolio.
Ottawa Curling Club’s Rachel Homan is one such elite athlete. One of Canada’s greatest female curlers, Homan has made two major changes to her team for the 2022-23 season. She has added high-level player Tracy Fleury, who will be the team skip but throw the third rocks while Homan tosses the fourth stones, and highly-regarded men’s player Ryan Fry as the team’s new coach.
Last week, Fry was introduced as the eighth coach in the history of Team Homan, which dates back to 2002-03 when Doug Kreviazuk held that role for one season in the first season at bantam. Fry, 44, will not only coach Team Homan, but also play third for Mike McEwen on the men’s circuit this season.
“I am excited to be working with this inspiring group of women and could not have more confidence in these four athletes and what we are going to be able to accomplish together,” Fry said in the team press release.
“Team Homan’s dedication to perfection, work ethic, and drive to do everything needed to succeed is the foundation we plan to build a successful quadrennial on.”
Fry, who has a wealth of experience as a curler while representing four different provincial regions during his career, served as an off-ice consultant for the month before the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics with the South Korean men’s, women’s and mixed doubles teams. The women’s team won the silver medal.
A mixed doubles partner with Team Homan second Emma Miskew, Fry won the 2014 Olympic Games gold medal with the Brad Jacobs rink. During the 2012-13 season, Fry also helped Jacobs win the 2013 Tim Hortons Brier and the world championship silver medal.
“Ryan has always been such a big supporter and fan of our team, while we have been competing together on tour for years,” said Homan, the 2017 world women’s gold medallist and a three-time Scotties Tournament of Hearts national women’s champion.
“We look forward to having a fresh perspective with him on the bench. We just had a great team training with Ryan. He brings so much experience to the team and we love having his positive, ambitious spark around us.”
Fry was born in Winnipeg and has represented Manitoba (1995-2008), Newfoundland and Labrador (2008-12), Northern Ontario (2012-19) and Ontario (2019 to present) at the Brier national men’s championship. He has participated in 14 Briers and won five Grand Slam of Curling titles.
In February, Fry was inducted into the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame alongside his father Barry Fry, who skipped the provincial team to the 2001 Canadian men’s masters championship.
Fry joins a list of prominent Team Homan coaches: Kreviazuk (2002-03), Earle Morris (2003-04, 2005-10, 2012-14), Andrea Ronnebeck (2010-12), Richard Hart (2014-15), Marcel Rocque (2015-16, 2018-20, 2021-22), Adam Kingsbury (2016-18), and Randy Ferbey (2020-21).
Team Homan, which recently renewed its four-year agreement with the Egg Farmers of Ontario and will display logos on their left knee and the upper front of their uniforms, announced its 2022-23 schedule on Tuesday. The team plans to be busy from September through May.
Saville Shoot-Out, Edmonton
Curling Canada Invitational, Fredericton
Boost National Grand Slam, North Bay, ON
Tour Challenge Grand Slam, Grande Prairie, AB
Autumn Gold Curling Classic, Calgary
Red Deer Curling Classic, Red Deer, AB
Masters Grand Slam, Oakville, ON
Canadian Open Grand Slam, Camrose, AB
Ontario Women’s Championship, Port Elgin
Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Kamloops, B.C.
World Women’s Championship, Sandviken, Sweden
Players’ Championship Grand Slam, Toronto
Champions Cup Grand Slam, Olds, AB
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for 48 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.
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