Lawes to replace Overton

Ted Wyman and Sean Grassie, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

A day after she jettisoned longtime third Cathy Overton-Clapham, four-time Canadian women's curling champion Jennifer Jones added a young gun as her replacement third.

On Friday, the Jones foursome announced the addition of Kaitlyn Lawes, a Winnipegger who won back-to-back Canadian junior championships in 2008 and 2009.

Lawes played last season with Edmonton's Cathy King but relished the idea of coming home to compete with one of the world's most accomplished teams.

"It's an honour to have the chance to get to play with a team like Jennifer's," Lawes said in a telephone interview from Edmonton.

"They've accomplished so much in the sport, and I love their determination and how hard they work, and it's something I've always dreamed of doing myself, and I'm really excited and looking forward to playing with them. This is what I’ve been working toward ever since I threw my first rock.”

As the three-time defending champions, the Jones foursome, which also includes second Jill Officer and lead Dawn Askin, will return to the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in 2011 as Team Canada.

But the team is already looking ahead to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. For all their success in recent years, the team, with Overton-Clapham at third, struggled when it came to Olympic qualifying.

"We just thought it was the appropriate time to shake things up going forward," said Officer.

The team gets considerably younger with this move. Overton-Clapham is 40, while Lawes is just 21. Askin is also under 30, while Officer is 34 and Jones is 35.

“Kaitlyn is a fantastic player at 21, and just imagine how well she will be curling a few years from now, in the year leading up to the 2014 Olympics in Sochi,” said Jones. “We’re proud to bring one of the province’s great rising stars back to Manitoba. We know she will revitalize the entire team.”

The Jones foursome was formed in 2004 and immediately found success, winning their first Canadian championship in 2005. They won again in 2008, 2009 and 2010 and Overton-Clapham was a big part of all four titles.

Overton-Clapham has played in the Scotties Tournament of Hearts 11 times and has won five Canadian titles. She is already a member of the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame and she was the MVP of the 2008 Scotties.

Overton-Clapham was still disillusioned by the decision 48 hours after she was officially informed by her teammates.

"Obviously very disappointed," Overton-Clapham said. "They were wanting more energy, more consistent play, and more vision, excitement. That's what they were looking for.

"I get that changes need to be made to mix teams up. I get all that, I'm a competitor. I get you need to do things to make things stronger. And there never is a good time for this kind of stuff. But I guess what's so hurtful is that they knew this past weekend when we were curling in Dawson Creek and I was obilvious to the whole thing. And to actually face me every day like they did is hurtful.

"I put in as much as the three of them did. They're taking that away from me and that's hard to take too."

While understanding her anger and disappointment, members of the Jones team said the move was a business decision.

"We have always tried to take a business approach to our team and we felt this was a business decision," Officer said.

"We hope that at some point — and it's going to be up to Cathy — we hope we can move forward somewhere down the line and have some sort of friendship with her in the future."


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