• May 29, 2023

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Dramatic week in Canadian curling sees widespread changes as season nears close

The past week in Canadian curling has been nothing short of eye-opening with players joining new teams and entire teams splitting up on both the men’s and women’s sides.

Jennifer Jones’ team announcing its break up last week kicked things off, followed by Team Bottcher announcing its split a few days later, and news of Brett Gallant leaving Brad Gushue’s team after the season just a day after.

For Gushue, who will be representing Canada at the men’s curling world championship after winning Olympic bronze in February and a Brier title earlier this month, it comes as no surprise although he acknowledged the challenges that have been created.

“This week has obviously been a challenge for a lot of high performance curlers in the country,” Gushue told CBC Sports’ That Curling Show. “I could see it coming, I’m not shocked by it.

“I’m not sure why it’s the way it is right now with as much change but four years together, practising and training as much as we do, you could probably get tired of some people or you want some change, or personality clashes or people aren’t performing with other players. There’s lots of factors that go into it.”

Team Gushue will compete in men’s world championship in Las Vegas from April 2-10 before closing out the season with another two Grand Slam appearances later this spring.

Kaitlyn Lawes, who was previously a third on Jones’ team for 12 years, will now skip her own team out of Manitoba consisting of Jocelyn Peterman, Selena Njegovan and Kristin MacCuish.

Having obtained gold with Jones in 2014, among other accomplishments, Lawes showed no ill will and expressed how much she looks forward to the new stage in her career.

“Change is not always a bad thing and it’s nice to have a refresh, new energy and something to look forward to,” the 33-year-old said. “I think it came at the right time — end of a quadrennial and the start of something new and great.

“As much as change is difficult, it makes you reflect on a lot of great memories and past experiences. I have so many fond memories that I have with Jennifer and the girls, and that’s something that I don’t take lightly. It was very emotional when we did decide to part ways.”

Steve Carr

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