Fry joins Stoughton rink

JIM BENDER -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:09 AM ET

Jeff Stoughton is hoping to sizzle with Fry.

The Charleswood skip has added promising Ryan Fry to his squad to replace retiring second Garry Van Den Berghe, Stoughton confirmed yesterday.

"We talked to him after the Brier (in Regina) and he said he wanted to play," Stoughton said. "It should be a good fit."

Fry, who played second for Stoughton at a Skins Game in 1999, approached Stoughton when Van Den Berghe first indicated that he was planning to retire when this season ends, Stoughton said.

"You look at the skills that Ryan brings to the table," said third Jon Mead. "He's a young guy who brings a lot of piss and vinegar, something we may have lacked at times."

Fry, who was skipping one of the top teams in the province, has also played with Stoughton's lead, Steve Gould, before. Although Stoughton conceded that Don Harvey, the team's fifth, would be disappointed, he was never promised anything beyond this year.

POTENTIAL

Fry's move means the breakup of his own foursome that had tremendous potential. As a result, lead Cory Naharnie has joined Kerry Burtnyk's new squad and second Ross McFadyen has hooked up with Brandon's Allan Lyburn, said third Kyle Werenich (who, contrary to speculation, was told of the split by Fry).

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm not playing next year," said Werenich, 27. "I don't have a team and it doesn't bother me if I don't play much next year. This kind of (crap) happens in sport, it's just bad timing. But what's one year? I've got lots of years left."

Although Rob Fowler did call Werenich to gauge his interest, Werenich believes Fowler will join Virden's Graham Freeman, who lost his own third, Scott Ramsay, to Dave Boehmer. If the Manitoba Curling Association continues to award an exemption into the Safeway Select to Manitoba's top Canadian Team Ranking System squad, Freeman would get it because Boehmer's rink has split up.

Meanwhile, Fry can play any position, which would be an added advantage for Stoughton.

"He's a better sweeper than I would be," Stoughton joked. "The only thing is being able to judge the weight and the look and the feel of the throws. But I'm sure he'll pick it up."

Van Den Berghe is still planning to finish out the season as Stoughton is entered in a cashspiel in Victoria and the Grand Slam's Players' Championship in Calgary.

"We've had a long, enjoyable career together, going back to 1990," said Stoughton, who won all five of his Manitoba titles and both Brier belts with Van Den Berghe. "I couldn't ask for a better player and a better friend. It's been fantastic and I'd love to win that last Players' Championship with him so he can go out a winner."

BITER: Stoughton got a note from the Canadian Curling Association acknowledging his appeal of a $1,000 fine at the Brier and he expects to get an answer by the end of this month ... Stoughton also took issue with suggestions that his team wasn't trying at the Brier, saying, "We wouldn't have gotten that upset if we weren't trying."


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