JENNIFER JONES made the most important delivery of her life on Tuesday.
The Winnipeg lawyer and longtime skip of one of the world's top-ranked curling teams went into labour weeks earlier than expected and delivered a baby girl.
"Her name is Isabella Ann and she is doing great," Jones, 38, wrote in an email message to the Free Press Tuesday night.
Jones wasn't due to give birth until December.
The baby is Jones's first child and the father is her partner, Brent Laing, second for Ontario's Glenn Howard.
In announcing in July she was pregnant and had recently undergone knee surgery, Jones told the Free Press she would not curl this fall.
With Jones out of the lineup, her team has competed on the cashspiel circuit with third Kaitlyn Lawes at skip and Ontario's Kirsten Wall playing third in most events. Jill Officer and Dawn Askin have remained in their customary positions at second and lead respectively.
The team has qualified for the playoffs in four of five events, but their only win came in the first event one -- The Shoot-Out in Edmonton in mid-September. The team is currently ranked seventh on the World Curling Tour money list with $15,100 in earnings.
With Jones and Laing now parenting a child together but continuing to live in different provinces, there's been all kinds of speculation about which of the two top-ranked curlers will be the one who will ultimately move.
That won't become clear for awhile yet, however, with Jones saying last summer they will continue to maintain separate residences until at least the end of the 2013-14 curling season.
The Jones and Howard teams have already confirmed their berths into the December 2013 Canadian Curling Trials at the MTS Centre, where Canada's representatives for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi will be determined.
-- Paul Wiecek