Jennifer Jones reaches career wins milestone in Tournament of Hearts

Team Manitoba skip Jennifer Jones reacts as she makes her last shot against Team Saskatchewan at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Athletes setting significant records in their sport are often too busy achieving those milestones to process their place in history in the moment.

What helps Jennifer Jones wrap her head around a career 153 wins at the Canadian women’s curling championship is seeing them through the eyes of people she loves.

Jones became the career leader in wins at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts with a 6-5 win Tuesday over Newfoundland and Labrador’s Sarah Hill.

Jones arrived at the 2021 Tournament of Hearts two back of the 152 victories held by Colleen Jones.

Jennifer Jones knows the record would have meant a lot to her late father Larry, who died two years ago at age 80.

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“My dad always loved the records,” Jones aid Monday. “He always followed all the records. I know he would be watching from above, very, very proud.

“It definitely means something to me. As you kind of approach the end of your career, just to be remembered for doing something that you love is pretty remarkable.”

The wins record is among many Jones holds in women’s curling.

If the six-time national champion prevails in Calgary, the 46-year-old from Winnipeg will be the only woman to win seven.

Should daughters Isabella and Skyla take up curling, the record book provides a compelling argument that their mother is the best to ever play the game.

“My kids do look at it. There’s a book with my name in it with some records,” Jones said.

“I hope if anything it just shows them that if you work hard, that dreams are possible. I just want them to have the best possible life and if this can have any impact on that, it’s absolutely incredible.”

Jones’s first win in 2002 was an 8-4 victory over Prince Edward Island’s Kathy O’Rourke, who is P.E.I’s alternate in Calgary this year.

Jones’s 153rd wasn’t a work of art as her team’s shooting accuracy was 80 per cent, but it was one Jones and her Manitoba foursome needed to get to a 3-2 record in Pool B.

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Sitting on 2-3 until their next game Wednesday wouldn’t have felt uncomfortable.

“We were grinding it out today,” Jones said. “We really needed this win to stay kind of in there in the competition.”

Ontario’s Rachel Homan and defending champion Kerri Einarson remained unbeaten Tuesday at 5-0 atop Pool A.

Alberta’s Laura Walker was 4-2 followed by Beth Peterson’s Wild Card Three at 3-3.

Northern Ontario’s Krysta Burns and Kerry Galusha of Northwest Territories were knotted at 2-3.

Nova Scotia’s Jill Brothers was 2-4, Mackenzie Zacharias’s Wild Card Two 1-4 and Yukon’s Laura Eby winless in five.

Quebec’s Laurie St-Georges led Pool B at 4-1 heading into Tuesday night’s draw. P.E.I.’s Suzanne Birt was 3-1. Chelsea Carey’s Wild Card One was even with Manitoba at 3-2.

B.C.’s Corryn Brown, Saskatchewan’s Sherry Anderson and Newfoundland were tied at 2-2 ahead of New Brunswick’s Melissa Adams at 1-3. Nunavut’s Lori Eddy was winless in five games.

The top four teams from each pool of nine at the end of the preliminary round Thursday take their records with them into the championship round.

The top three emerging from the championship round Saturday will be Sunday’s playoff teams, with the No. 1 seed rewarded with a bye to that day’s final.

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Jones has won everything there is to win in women’s curling, including two world titles a decade apart in 2008 and 2018.

Jones, third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jill Officer and lead Dawn McEwen went undefeated en route to an Olympic gold medal in 2014.

“I can’t believe this is my 11th year with Jennifer and the girls,” Lawes said. “I still feel like I’m the 21-year-old kid when I joined the team.

“I was just so eager to learn from the best. I’ve always looked up to Jen. She’s a role model and how special is it to be able to play with people that you’re inspired by?”

Jones and former second Officer own the record for most Hearts final appearances (9). McEwen, who is pregnant and sitting out this year, played lead for Jones in seven of them.

Jones has appeared in the most playoff games (33) and shares the playoff win record (21) with Officer.

“I’ve been so fortunate to have the best human beings as teammates that have supported me throughout I don’t know how many years,” Jones said.

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In her 16th Hearts appearance, Jones trails only Colleen Jones (19) for the most by a skip.

Watch below: Some Global News videos featuring Jennifer Jones.


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