Jennifer Jones eyes history as Scotties gets underway in Nova Scotia
Jones looks for 7th title to become winningest skip ever
SYDNEY, N.S. — Jennifer Jones could never have imagined what was in store for her and her teams when she set out on her curling journey all those years ago.
This week at Centre 200 Jones will be making her 14th Scotties appearance — her first was in 2002 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon, Man.
"I thought then that if I never got back to a Scotties my dreams were fulfilled," Jones said. "And then we won in 2005 and I thought we were the luckiest team in the world."
Jones is now looking to make curling history. Should she find a way to win this year's Scotties, it will be her seventh and will set the record for most titles. She won her sixth last year to tie Nova Scotia skip Colleen Jones at six.
"Would it mean something to me? Absolutely," she said. "To set a record like that would be unbelievable. But if I don't, it's not something I would have any regrets about."
Jones is wearing the Canadian colours as reigning champ. She joins 15 other teams all vying for this year's title.
"It's a great field. It's an outstanding field this year and it's always fun to play the best teams," Jones said.
The most formidable opponent standing in the way of Jones' pursuit of history is Rachel Homan and her team from Ottawa. They've been nearly perfect this season on the Slam Tour, having won the previous three events.
Homan has been laser-focused this season and seems to be playing with a renewed passion one year after her Olympic disappointment when she failed to win a medal. Still early in her career, Homan is looking for her fourth Canadian title in the past seven years.
This is the second year for the new Scotties format that features two pools of eight teams. In the past, there were 12 teams at the Scotties and each team played one another once in a round-robin format.
The teams are now split into two pools and play seven games in the preliminary round. The top four teams in each pool advance to the championship round.
- Ontario, Rachel Homan
- Manitoba, Tracy Fleury
- Alberta, Chelsea Carey
- British Columbia, Sarah Wark
- Northern Ontario, Krista McCarville
- Nova Scotia, Jill Brothers
- Quebec, Gabrielle Lavoie
- Nunavut, Jenine Bodner
- Team Canada, Jennifer Jones
- Wild Card, Casey Scheidegger
- Saskatchewan, Robyn Silvernagle
- Prince Edward Island, Suzanne Birt
- Northwest Territories, Kerry Galusha
- New Brunswick, Andrea Crawford
- Yukon, Nicole Baldwin
- Newfoundland/Labrador, Kelli Sharpe
The four teams who advance from Pool A will play the four teams from Pool B on Thursday and Friday, and then the top four, with preliminary results included in the win-loss record, will move into the traditional page playoffs beginning Saturday.
The championship game goes Sunday, Feb. 24. The winning team will wear the maple leaf for Canada at the world championship in Denmark and return as Team Canada at next year's tournament in Moose Jaw, Sask.
Scheidegger wins Wild Card
The new Wild Card playoff game has added an extra layer of drama to the Scotties, with the two highest-ranked teams who didn't qualify through provincials playing a one-game showdown to earn a spot in the national championship.
That pitted Team Casey Scheidegger of Lethbridge against Kerri Einarson of Gimli, Man., on Friday night.
Both teams struggled with the ice early on in the game and at times seemed nervous with the pressure of the game.
WATCH | Scheidegger wins 16th and final spot in Scotties:
Scheidegger missed her last shot in the fourth end to surrender the first steal of the game and trailed Einarson 3-1.
Scheidegger would tie it up at 3-3 after scoring two in the fifth and then took control of the game after a steal of two in the seventh. But Einarson responded with two in the eighth end, stole one in the ninth to tie the game 6-6.
In the final end, Scheidegger won it on her final rock, drawing to the edge of the button to secure a 7-6 victory and book the final ticket into the Scotties.
"We're excited and it's very emotional," she said after the win. "The girls were super emotional. It's like winning a provincial final. We've got the extra game on the ice and I think that can be an advantage."