Photo: Netflix’s Losers. Episode 4: Stone Cold.

Netflix fame for Kelowna curler Pat Ryan

Ryan was featured on a Netflix documentary episode of Losers

  • Mar. 14, 2019 12:00 a.m.

If you find yourself surfing Netflix one night, don’t be surprised if you stumble upon some familiar scenery and one local “loser” who has some big wins under his belt.

The new series Losers deviates from the normal sports narrative to tell stories about the players, who once finished last but went on to be winners.

Kelowna’s Pat Ryan is one of them.

“It was fun, it was great, and I laughed throughout,” said Ryan, of the series.

“They took a topic that’s not often talked about on individuals who came second. The world directs us to think about the winner, and these are stories that are forgotten.”

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The journey for Ryan from past-fame to a 2019 Netflix feature started as a podcast, which was then picked up to be turned into a T.V. show. But there were bumps along the way.

“I was skeptical that it was really going to be happen,” said Ryan. “It did fall on the cutting room floor three months later, but six months after that they called me saying Netflix was now funding it, and they wanted to do it as a series. Micky had a bigger picture in mind for the series.”

The Losers series, directed by Mickey Duzyj, aptly named Ryan’s episode Stone Cold. It features Ryan in his younger years as a curling professional for Team Alberta who went from zero to hero after losing the 1985 Briar, Canada’s curling championships.

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Because of the loss, Ryan adapted new strategies in the game of curling that weren’t so well received by the fans at the time and caused the rules of Canadian curling to be changed forever.

“You’re always trying to find an edge,” said Ryan on his changes to the game at the time.

Ryan won the Briar Championship in 1988, and soon after became a Canadian curling legend known for his game-changing aggressive play, and strict team rules.

Now, years later, Ryan has embraced the role of a casual curler in Kelowna, enjoys the reduction of fame, and has found a new passion in music.

“During those days, in Edmonton it wasn’t easy to walk down the street without being recognized. I could walk down the street in Kelowna, and no one knows who I am,” said Ryan. “(People) are supportive of the sport, but it’s different in Kelowna.”

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“Here, you’re just part of the group at the (Kelowna) Curling Club. You’re brought in as part of the family, part of the community, and there’s no recognition just because you won a curling game.”

The competitive drive for curling wins has died down for Ryan, but it’s been replaced for a drive for his other life-long passion.

Ryan traded in his curling broom for a guitar and has since released two country music CD’s, Old Dog – New Tricks, and Little Bit of Trouble, with some of his songs featured on the Netflix episode.

“My whole life I wanted to pursue it, to write and record songs and play with different musicians. I’m having fun with a hobby. I’m late on the uptake, but I’m doing it now,” said Ryan.

The three-time Briar champion, two-time World Curling champion, country musician, and now one-time Netflix star (so far), is not shy of the fame his past career brought him, or of the fame his current passion may bring him.

Ryan had no difficulty transitioning from one passion to the other, he said it was time.

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