Colleen Jones's rink reunites for shot at Sochi Olympics
Team won 5 Canadian and 2 world titles from 1999 to 2004
After six years apart, one of the most successful teams in Canadian women’s curling history is getting back together — with a twist.
Colleen Jones and Kim Kelly will join forces with skip Mary Anne Arsenault to form a powerful Nova Scotia team looking to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
From 1999 to 2004, the team skipped by Jones with Kelly as third, Arsenault as second and Nancy Delahunt as lead, won five Canadian championships — including four in a row — and two world championships.
But the Mayflower Curling Club foursome never represented Canada at an Olympic Games, missing out in 2002 and 2006.
"Really, that is the ultimate motivator; that’s the one thing we haven’t put on our resume," Arsenault said.
The team broke up after the 2006 season, but Jones offered her services to Arsenault last week, prompting a team meeting.
"I was sick of losing and figured that we needed a bit of a firecracker," Arsenault said. "Then Colleen walked into the picture."
Arsenault met with Jones on Sunday afternoon, and the reunion was on.
Jones has offered to be the second or third, with her and Kelly yet to settle what roles they will play on the revamped team. Current Mayflower lead Jenn Baxter will stay on, while current third Stephanie McVicar is mulling an invite to remain as a spare and Delahunt has offered to join the team as a coach or manager.
"Mary Anne is the skip and she’s driving the bus," Jones said. "Mary Anne is such a strong thrower and she definitely has the ability to be one of the best skips out there. You see how clean she throws and she has every shot in her arsenal."
One of the motivations of the Mayflower foursome was seeing Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton win the Brier and the world championship in 2011.
Stoughton’s rink represented Canada at the world championship in 1999 in Saint John, N.B., when the men’s and women’s events were together. That’s the first year the Jones rink represented Canada.
"We kind of thought, ‘If they can do it again, so can we,’" Arsenault said.
Jones has wanted to play with Arsenault for a while and both are aware of the chemistry they have.
"We’ve never lost when we’ve curled together," Jones said. "We’re probably yin and yang to each other. I think we complement each other in a nice way, I think we can bring out the best in each other."
She sees her role on the team as providing support and the benefit of experience.
After a brief absence, Jones returned to competitive curling and won this year’s Nova Scotia senior women’s curling championship with Delahunt — something observed closely by their former teammates.
"Colleen is magic," Kelly said. "She has this way of winning."
Kelly is excited about the reunion and says their time apart has made them feel invigorated.
"We needed the break, it is hard to keep up that success even though it was fun — but it started to be not fun after a while," Kelly said.
Jones is 51, Kelly, 49, Delahunt, 52, and Baxter is 24.