Dramatic week in Canadian curling sees broad changes as the season draws to a close

The past week in Canadian curling was eye-opening with players joining new teams and entire teams splitting up on the men’s and women’s sides.

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

For Gushue, who will represent Canada at the men’s world curling championship after winning an Olympic bronze in February and the Brier title earlier this month, it should come as no surprise even though he acknowledges the challenge it has created.

“This week has definitely been a challenge for many of the top-performing curlers in this country,” Gushue told CBC Sports. That Curling Show. “I could see it coming, I wasn’t surprised by that.

“I’m not sure why it’s the way it is now with a lot of changes but four years together, training and training as much as we did, you may get tired of some people or you want some changes, or personality clashes or people don’t perform with other players. There are many factors. affecting him.”

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

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

After winning gold with Jones and Peterman in 2014, among other accomplishments, Lawes has shown no ill will and expressed how much he is looking forward to a new chapter in his career.

“Change isn’t always a bad thing and it’s nice to have refreshment, new energy and something to look forward to,” said the 33-year-old. “I think it’s come at the right time – the end of four years and the beginning of something new and great.

“Although change is difficult, it makes you reflect on many good memories and past experiences. I have so many great memories that I have with Jennifer and the girls, and it’s something I don’t take lightly. was very emotional when we decided to separate.”

WATCH l Lawes miss his own team next season in Manitoba:

That Curling Show: Kaitlyn Lawes will miss his own team next season at Manitoba

Three-time Olympic medalist Kaitlyn Lawes will lead her own curling team next season. He will be joined by Jocelyn Peterman, who has also played on Tim Jennifer Jones, Selena Njegovan and Kristin MacCuish. 10:23

Howard expresses thoughts on team split

While acknowledging that product in curling continues to improve, legendary leapfrog Glenn Howard says constant change isn’t his style.

“It’s been a weird year, you know a lot of this is coming. I didn’t think I was going to see the magnitude of it. Everyone broke up. It was so refreshing to see Krista. [McCarville] and the girls made a cute tweet to say they’re still together.”

“I think it’s become too much work, too tight. I think they’re taking a little fun out of it. That being said, products are getting better and better. If that’s what it takes to get a product there, so be it, but that’s just not my style. .”

Howard, 59, also explains how difficult conversations around potential team splits and finding a new team can be does not equate to their longevity.

“This is the worst thing that can happen in our sport. It’s never comfortable,” he said. “What I hate to see is when you break up or people get hurt, you lose friendships. It happened and there are still a lot of situations that happen in curling today.

“This is the worst time because of the Olympics and the quads – people think that they have to make changes for the next four years. But keep my word, all the teams that have just made changes – they will not be together four years from now.”

Jacobs contemplating the future

Brad Jacobs, a 2014 Olympic gold medalist and world number five, discussed his decision last week to take a year off and mentioned his desire to spend more time with his family and reflect on his future in curling.

Overall, he’s glad he won’t be a part of the conversation surrounding the Canadian team switch.

“It was actually a pretty easy decision and after I told my friends I was totally at peace with it,” Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario., says the native. “It’s been great to sit back this past week and get out of all the conversation about team building. It’s kind of liberating actually.

“But I’ve always told my people over the last few years that it’s hard for me to see past 2022 – I really can’t. I thought to myself, this is the right time because we have a lot going on. other things that happen outside of waving that a lot of people may not know about. I want to spend a little more time with my family, with my kids.

“I’m actually really excited to sit back and watch curling — see how much I really love this sport and whether I have any hunger or desire to come back. Or is it something that might happen. rearview mirror for me. I really don’t know but time will tell.”

VIEW | Brad Jacobs questions the future, deciding to take a year off:

That Curling Show: Brad Jacobs contemplates his future in men’s curling

Jump in Northern Ontario have decided to take a year off from men’s curling and are excited for some time off. He discussed his plans for the year and whether he thought he would return to the sport. 10:28

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