Anyone who says curling is boring should be directed to the story of Pat Ryan.
In the recently released Netflix documentary series, Losers, an episode titled Stone Cold offers the story on how Ryan changed the game of curling forever after suffering a heartbreaking loss at the Canadian curling championship in 1985.
Ryan, who now calls Kelowna home, represented Team Alberta throughout his curling career starting from 1979, and won three Briar championships.
The Netflix episode, which features Kelowna landmarks like the Kelowna Curling Club and the WR Bennett Bridge, focuses on Ryan’s rise from a wild second place finish at the 1985 Briar, which he lost to curling legend Al Hackner of Northern Ontario, to when Ryan and his team changed the “boring” game forever.
After the loss in 1985, Ryan was determined to win and implemented new tactics which decreased the amount of scoring and increased the “exciting” play in the game. Three years later, Ryan returned to the Briar with his new rink and tactics and won the championships with ease, but the result of their stratagems would expedite a massive change to the game.
The tactics Ryan used, which earned him and his rink the nickname the Ryan Express, were not-so-well-liked by the long-standing fans of the Canadian curling community.
In 1993, changes were made to the rules to make Ryan’s style illegal with the free-guard zone rule, which has helped make curling into the exciting and massively grown sport it is today.
Ryan, a once loser of the biggest curling championship in Canada, has transitioned into part of curling’s folklore where his winning ways were once determined to be “too boring.”
To report a typo, email: