Vernon’s Ryan Kuhn (left) discusses shot options with Jim Cotter at the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa. The team announced Friday Kuhn is stepping back from the squad to focus on family and work.

Vernon’s Ryan Kuhn (left) discusses shot options with Jim Cotter at the 2016 Tim Hortons Brier in Ottawa. The team announced Friday Kuhn is stepping back from the squad to focus on family and work.

Kuhn opts for family, job

The Jim Cotter curling rink announced Friday that Vernon’s Ryan Kuhn has decided to to spend more time with his young family

He stepped in to replace Johnny Morris. Now he’s stepping back.

The Jim Cotter curling rink of Vernon/Kelowna announced Friday that Vernon’s Ryan Kuhn has decided to to spend more time with his young family and concentrate on his career as a pilot with WestJet.

“It’s been awesome these last two years, Jim, Ty (second Tyrel Griffith) and Rick (lead Sawatsky) are among my best friends. This was not an easy decision,” said Kuhn, 33, a step-father to twin daughters Paige and Lindsay, and father to six-year-old son Brett. “I felt like I needed a work-life balance.”

Said Cotter on the team’s Facebook page, where the announcement was made: “It’s a huge commitment and many times when we came home Ryan often turned around and caught the next flight, so we fully understand and respect his decision.”

With Morris in 2014, Cotter reached the Tim Hortons Brier final in his hometown of Kamloops, losing to Kevin Koe of Alberta whose own third, Pat Simmons, formed a rink for the following season that included Morris.

In stepped Kuhn, a former world junior champion, to fill the void for Cotter.

All he did with Cotter and front-end teammates Griffith and Sawatsky was help the squad win back-to-back provincial championships, go to two straight Brier Canadian men’s championships, and reach a Grand Slam of Curling final.

“I picked the right team to join,” laughed Kuhn. “It’s hard to pinpoint one highlight but two Briers and a Slam final are pretty good.”

“For the two years we had Ryan, he gave 110 per cent,” added Cotter. “Ryan was the hardest-working guy on the team. It’s amazing what he accomplished in just two years playing the toughest position on a team.

“Ryan’s dedication to his family, practice, training and competing is second to none. He really stepped up on our team and will be greatly missed.”

The season for the team ended with a 3-8 showing at the Brier in Ottawa. They finished two points out of a spot in the field for the season-ending Players Championship.

No decision about the team’s future has been made.

“The three of us will meet and discuss our next steps,” said Cotter.