Just two days after firing longtime third Cathy Overton-Clapham, Winnipeg’s Jennifer Jones is expected to announce today that she has has recruited former junior champion Kaitlyn Lawes to take Overton-Clapham’s place on the three-time defending Canadian women’s curling champion.
Winnipeg’s Lawes is no stranger to curling at the highest levels. She won Canadian junior titles for Manitoba in 2008 and 2009 and went on to win bronze and silver representing Canada at the World Juniors in those years respectively.
She has since graduated to the adult ranks. She curled last winter with Edmonton’s Cathy King. That team played in a qualifying tournament in November 2009 for the Canadian Curling Trials but did not advance.
"I’m honoured and very excited to curl with this team. It’s going to be very exciting," Lawes said this afternoon from Edmonton. "Hopefully we can build and grow together."
Lawes is just 21 and 20 years younger than Overton-Clapham, the winningest female curler in Manitoba history. Overton-Clapham had harsh words Thursday for the way she was dismissed by Jones, saying she was blind-sided by the decision and it strips her of perks as Team Canada that she had rightly earned.
Lawes will move back to Winnipeg and will now inherit those perks, including the right to defend the Canadian title as Team Canada at next February’s Scotties Tournament of Hearts and berths in the lucrative Canada Cup and Continental Cup events that automatically go to the defending Canadian champion.
Asked about replacing Overton-Clapham in this context, Lawes had nothing but good things to say. "I can’t replace her. She’s a phenomenal curler. I have a lot of respect for her," Lawes said. "I’m not going to step into her shoes. Hopefully we can just build a new team."
Paul Wiecek was born and raised in Winnipeg’s North End and delivered the Free Press -- 53 papers, Machray Avenue, between Main and Salter Streets -- long before he was first hired as a Free Press reporter in 1989.
Updated on Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:48 PM CDT: new information