ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- Despite an unprecedented run of success, Colleen Jones does not now and never will consider her team to be the greatest in the history of women's curling. That honour remains with the late Sandra Schmirler's foursome, which dominated in the '90s before the skip's life was cut short by cancer.
"We haven't won three world championships and an Olympic gold," Jones said yesterday as her team prepared for today's opening of the Scott Tournament of Hearts, where it will chase a record fifth consecutive Canadian title.
"I like where we're at, I'm proud of what we've done, but (Schmirler) is, in my books, still the finest team, and what they've accomplished, nobody else has done. If Sandra were still with us, would she be going to the next Olympics? Probably. She was dominant, just totally dominant. They were definitely in a class by themselves."
All that said, it is Jones who has won six Canadian titles and formed, with Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Arsenault and Nancy Delahunt, a juggernaut foursome that has been virtually unbeatable this millennium.
"We've had a great run and we don't want it to end," said Jones, who plays Ontario's Jenn Hanna today at 11:30 a.m. "We've loved every minute of it, but you've got to keep trying to stay a little bit ahead of everybody else if you want to win."
She definitely still wants to win and at 45 is not slowing down a bit. She still has the same fervour for the game as she did when she won her first Scott crown as a 21-year-old in 1981.
"You wonder when that kind of drive will end but when you get here, see the arena, see the other teams, you just get that pit in the bottom of your stomach that says it's showtime," Jones said.
"The logical point would be after the Olympics, but why would we quit? Society tells you that you are supposed to slow down, but why slow down if you don't have to? If there came a point where we weren't able to do what we deem we should be able to do, I don't think we would be interested in torturing ourselves."
Jones knows her team can be beaten, but her job is to make sure it's never easy.
"Hopefully it will take a really good effort to beat us," she said. "That means that we're playing well and that somebody else brings something better to the table."
TEAM 'TOBA: There is a strong ex-Manitoban faction at this year's Scott. B.C.'s Kelly Scott (McKenzie) is originally from Winnipeg, and her second Sasha Carter (Bergner) is from Ashern. Alberta lead Tracy Bush is from Winnipeg. All three won Manitoba junior titles.
HOT SHOTS: Qualifying for today's quarter-finals in the Hot Shots competition were Raylene Rocque and Cathy King of Alberta, Allison Farrell and Stacey Leger of New Brunswick, Monique Gagnier of the Yukon-Territories, Kay Zinck of Nova Scotia, Marie-Josee Fortier of Quebec and Jenn Hanna of Ontario.