Gauthier no new kid on block

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- Cathy Gauthier throws her head back and laughs heartily every time she hears it.

It goes something like this: Manitoba is one of the young guns in contention for a Canadian women's curling title this week at the Scott Tournament of Hearts.

Well, skip Jennifer Jones is only 30 and second Jill Officer is 29, and both are part of a group of competitors at this tournament who had success at the junior level within the last 10 or so years.

But it doesn't apply to Gauthier so much. In fact, the 43-year-old, two-time Canadian women's champion, who plays lead for Jones, is already in the Manitoba Curling Hall of Fame.

"I always sit back there and smile because they are always talking about the juniors dominating the field and I think 'Well, I lost two junior finals in the early '70's,' " said Gauthier, whose team is in the thick of a playoff race with a 7-2 record. "Are they talking about me? It's funny to be lumped in with the juniors."

Gauthier won Canadian titles with Connie Laliberte in 1992 and 1995, then shortly after stepped away from the game to have a family.

She eventually returned to the ice with a couple of different teams and established herself as a curling commentator on Global and TSN broadcasts.

But it wasn't until this year that she re-established herself as a competitive curler, winning the Manitoba title on a newly-formed team. Because Jones is still a relatively fresh face on the national curling scene, the team is considered to be a young up-and-comer.

"I feel like one of the young kids," Gauthier said. "I just feel like a competitor, I don't really look at age. It doesn't matter if you are 30 or 40, you still want to win as bad and losing feels just as brutal."

The whole experience of returning to the Scott as a participant instead of a member of the media has been a good one for the Winnipegger.

"To win and to come here, it is special because for nine years I haven't been competing and for five or six years I've been walking by the ice and going up to the booth," she said.


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