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Jones, Sturmay race to fourth straight wins at Canadian women's curling championship

Team Nova Scotia coach Colleen Jones talks to her team at the break as they play Team British Columbia-Grandy at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Team Nova Scotia coach Colleen Jones talks to her team at the break as they play Team British Columbia-Grandy at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Colleen Jones has a front-row seat on teams trying to break her curling records.

The six-time Canadian champion skip has returned to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts as Nova Scotia's coach 11 years after she last played in it.

Her 21 appearances at the national women's curling championship spanning 34 years from 1979 to 2013 is a record that will be difficult to replicate. Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones has said her 18th appearance this year in Calgary will be her last.

"It's kind of cool to be back actually, because I never thought I would be back," said the 64-year-old Colleen Jones on Monday. "I didn't see the coaching opportunity until it happened."

Colleen Jones is tied with Jennifer Jones for the most national women's curling crowns at six, and with Manitoba's Kerri Einarson for the most consecutive titles with four. Colleen Jones believes a record will be set in Calgary.

"I could get a front-row seat to that, which is even trippier," Colleen Jones said. "You always see in baseball or hockey, the old geezer in the stands watching as it happens and politely applauding."

She doesn't believe the 49-year-old Jennifer Jones should retire from women's team curling and told her so after the latter beat Nova Scotia's Heather Smith in their first games in Calgary.

"She said 'I'm watching you. I don't think you should retire yet,"' Jennifer said.

The elder Jones has a valid argument because Jennifer Jones was off to a 4-0 start atop Pool B. Three-time Canadian champion Rachel Homan was on her heels at 3-0. Jones and Homan will square off in Tuesday's evening draw.

In Pool A, host Alberta's Selena Sturmay was also 4-0 after an 8-4 victory Monday evening over Saskatchewan's Skylar Ackerman (3-2).

Einarson (4-1) recovered from Sunday's loss to Sturmay with a pair of Monday wins, including a 10-4 victory in the evening over winless Prince Edward Island.

The defending champions are minus longtime lead Briane Harris, who was deemed ineligible to play in the Tournament of Hearts hours before it started for reasons unexplained by Curling Canada and the team. Alternate Krysten Karwacki drew in for Harris in Calgary.

Quebec's Laurie St-Georges (3-1) downed Manitoba's Kaitlyn Lawes 7-5, which dropped Lawes to 1-3 in Pool A. Northern Ontario's Krista McCarville beat winless Stacie Curtis of Newfoundland and Labrador 8-3 to join Saskatchewan at 3-2.

The rest of Pool B included B.C.'s Clancy Grandy (3-1), Manitoba's Kate Cameron (2-1), Ontario's Danielle Inglis (2-2), Nova Scotia and New Brunswick (1-3), Yukon's Bayly Scoffin and Northwest Territories' Kerry Galusha (0-3).

The top three teams in each pool advance to Friday's six-team playoff round, from which Saturday's four Page playoff teams will be determined.

The winner of Sunday's final represents Canada in the world championship March 16-24 in Sydney, N.S., and earns a return trip to the 2025 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont., as defending champion.

Colleen Jones skipped Nova Scotia to a Hearts title in 1982 before she and Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Nancy Delahunt produced five over six years between 1999 and 2004.

When they won their third in Brandon, Man., in 2002, a 28-year-old Jennifer Jones skipped Manitoba for the first time.

"Colleen just loves curling. She and I were talking about it the other day," Jennifer said. "We can both still see it in each other.

"Her passion for curling reminds me of me. I saw how much they loved playing the game together and that's what I aspired to, to find teammates that just loved the game and just wanted to be out there."

Colleen Jones retired after 37 years as a CBC broadcaster last year, which gave her more time for curling mentorship. Stepping back into a Hearts curling arena felt nostalgic for her.

"I felt like home. It felt surreal and it felt like something that would never happen again, so it's a pretty awesome feeling to kind of go, 'wow, I'm back at the place that I loved for so long,"' she said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2024. Top Stories


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