Curling future looks great: Jones

TED WYMAN -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 12:05 PM ET

ST. JOHN'S, Nfld. -- As devastated as she was about getting knocked out of a Scott Tournament of Hearts for the first time since 2000, Colleen Jones had to admit it will be good to see fresh faces vying for Canadian women's curling supremacy today. "It's great for the game to have a new face and it gives it a freshness," Jones said yesterday, 24 hours after her unprecedented run of curling dominance ended at Mile One Stadium.

"We're going to have a new champion and it couldn't be better timing."

While Jones, 45, was bumped from her lofty perch, the likes of Manitoba's Jennifer Jones, 30, B.C.'s Kelly Scott, 27, Ontario's Jenn Hanna, 25, and Saskatchewan's Stefanie Lawton, 24, were the ones who made it to the playoffs.

MAKING THEIR MARKS

Jennifer Jones, Lawton and Scott were all Canadian junior champions -- and Hanna was a national junior runner-up -- before they started making their marks on the women's scene.

Colleen Jones said that's a good sign for curling.

"It's really hard when you are a junior player to turn the corner into women's curling," said Colleen Jones. "You are trying to get your career on track, maybe you're getting married, maybe you're having babies and you get into the juggle that we've all dealt with for a long time. If you are in your mid-20s and just getting all that started, it's hard to find the balance."

The presence of these younger skips is proof that things are being done correctly at the grassroots level of curling, and Jones isn't at all surprised that things went so well for some Scott tournament newcomers like Scott, Hanna and Lawton.

'AGE DIDN'T MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE'

"I've always said age didn't make any difference, because we won in 1982 when we were just kids off the turnip truck," Jones said. "You could be my age or 25, if you've got talent, you've got talent and age doesn't matter."

As for Winnipeg's Jennifer Jones, who will play Hanna in today's final (11:30 a.m., CBC), she got some high praise from a six-time champion yesterday.

"She's always been a great player and it's a strong team with a lot of experience," Colleen Jones said. "The two Cathys (Overton-Clapham and Gauthier) are great, Jill (Officer's) a terrific curler and Jennifer's got all the shots. It's a great final for them to be in because they have a combination of youth and experience and that will take them a long way. There's just no question when you look at that team that they've got what it takes to win."


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