ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- It has been four years since anyone from Colleen Jones' Halifax foursome wore Nova Scotia colours at the Scott Tournament of Hearts, and at least one member of the team doubts she'll ever don the uniform of her home province again.
"I'm not sure if we're ever going to play for Nova Scotia again, actually," second Mary-Anne Arsenault said yesterday at the Canadian women's curling championship.
"If this run ends, we'll probably be done."
Well, that may be a little premature, at least if the woman who calls the shots for the world champions is to be believed.
"I feel like I'm nowhere near done," Jones said last night after losing 8-7 to New Brunswick to fall to 2-3.
Now that you've had time to digest those little morsels of information, we'll return you to our regularly scheduled story.
The Jones foursome, which also includes second Kim Kelly and lead Nancy Delahunt, has won the last four Canadian titles and five of the last six. That means the team has played in the Scott as Team Canada five times.
Both Arsenault, 36, and Delahunt, 46, have actually represented Nova Scotia fewer times than that. Arsenault's somewhat stunning revelation indicates they will never catch up.
"We haven't worn the Nova Scotia jacket for a lot of years," said Delahunt, who has won four provincial titles, while Arsenault has won three.
'IT KILLS HER'
"I remember the first year that we came as Team Canada, I used to walk over to the Nova Scotia sign when we came on the ice. Colleen has always been very protective of her Nova Scotia dominance. It kills her to see other people win the province, she thinks that's still her domain. But you've got to give it up if you are going to be Team Canada."
The defending world champions and six-time Scott Tournament of Hearts winners have been on an unprecedented roll of success over the last four years, making for the strange discrepancy between provincial and Canadian titles.
Kay Zinck of Halifax, who is also competing this week, has actually won Nova Scotia six times, an accomplishment that might not have been possible if 14-time provincial champ Jones was in playdowns every year.
"Most people are here quite a few times before they get to win it, but I've been lucky enough to be on this train," said Arsenault.
One thing that the Jones team has perfected is the ability to stay sharp despite not participating in provincials for the last four years.
"We play a lot of men's cashspiels, we go to Europe in January, when all the other women are playing their provincial playdowns, to try to stay competitive," said Arsenault.
"In 2000 we thought we weren't well enough prepared and we lost. We didn't have enough big games coming in, and we had to change that."
SISTER ACT: When Team Canada plays Nova Scotia this morning, a sibling rivalry will be renewed.
Defending world champion Colleen Jones will square off against her younger sister, Monica Moriarty, who plays lead for Nova Scotia.
"I'm not even going to approach it like she is my sister," Jones said. "I'm just going to go out and play the game and not worry about her and not worry about the fact that it's Nova Scotia."
Canada is 0-4 against Nova Scotia the last four years with Jones at the helm.
"They are going to be so Team X," she said. "That's my plan. You can't be too cozy or comfortable out there, so you have to forget that you are playing people you know."