Winning four Canadian women’s curling championships in a row was “bloody hard to do in hindsight,” stated Colleen Jones.
Nova Scotia’s Jones, Kim Kelly, Nancy Delahunt and Mary-Anne Arsenault comprise the only team to collect four consecutive Scotties Tournament of Hearts titles, which they achieved from 2001 to 2004.
Kerri Einarson’s foursome can join Jones and company in curling’s history books with a fourth consecutive win at this year’s national championship, starting Friday in Kamloops, B.C.
“I definitely think about it and it’s only been done once before, but I also want to enjoy the moment,” Einarson told The Canadian Press.
Einarson, Val Sweeting, Shannon Birchard and Briane Harris out of Manitoba’s Gimli Curling Club return to national championship wearing the Maple Leaf yet again as defending champions.
“You don’t always get to be Team Canada, so we’re just going to embrace it and go out there and really enjoy ourselves and make some shots and not put so much pressure on ourselves,” the skip said.
“I know we’re going to have targets on our back and we’re going to have to play really well, but that’s like any other year.”
What fuelled Jones, now a co-host of CBC Sports’ That Curling Show, to a quadruple was big-game experience begetting more big-game experience, she said.
“It becomes a ‘I know how to do this feel,”‘ Jones said.
“At the time we were just feeling so confident, ready, primed and learned to thrive in big games and I think that’s what Kerri’s got going, so I think she’s going to do it.”
Einarson says her team’s dynamics have come a long way since defeating Ontario’s Rachel Homan in an extra end in Moose Jaw, Sask., three years ago to claim its first of three straight.
“We’ve grown so much since then,” Einarson said.
“I’ve definitely found that over the years that if you’re getting into those big games, you are learning from them, getting that experience and feeling that feeling that you get on the ice, the pressure, the roar of the crowd, all of that. You just learn to go with it and it definitely does become a little easier.”
Ranked No. 1 in the world, Einarson has reached the final of all four Grand Slams played so far this season, going 1-for-3 in those games.
Einarson opens defense of her Hearts titles Friday versus Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges at the 5,500-seat Sandman Centre.
Einarson isn’t the only woman poised to rewrite the record books.