Kaitlyn Lawes moves to skip with new Manitoba-based team

After receiving more than a decade of mentorship from one of the greatest skips of all time, Kaitlyn Lawes is ready to show the world what she’s learned.

The longtime third for Jennifer Jones announced Monday that she will be skipping a team with Selena Njegovan, Jocelyn Peterman and Kristin MacCuish starting this fall.

Lawes was a skip through her time in the junior ranks but moved to third when she joined the Jones rink in 2010. When the current iteration of that rink disbanded this month, a move to skip for Lawes was widely expected in the curling world.

“Once we decided to go our separate ways with Team Jones, the phone conversations started to happen, we tried to feel things out,” Lawes said on the CJOB Sports Show. “Honestly, it did come together quite quickly and we tried to announce as soon as we could.”

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Lawes and Peterman curled together for Jones over the past four years while Njegovan and MacCuish played together for Tracy Fleury’s rink.

Lawes has limited experience playing with both, with MacCuish joining Jones’ rink as an alternate for the 2012 Scotties and Njegovan as a spare with the team during an event last summer.

“We don’t have much experience together, at all, but I’ve had some great conversations with them and played against them since juniors so I’m really excited to be teaming up with them,” Lawes said.

“And Jocelyn has now been on our team for four years and she’s my roommate so it was pretty fun to be able to stay together and create this new dynamic.”

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The announcement of the new Team Lawes is one of the first of what will be a long string of announcements from new curling teams in Canada.

Teams breaking up after an Olympic cycle ends is not a new phenomenon, but the number of new-look, high-end teams that will be put together in the near future is unprecedented.

“Maybe I’m being naive because I haven’t been a part of a team change in many, many, many years but it does feel like this is the craziest the curling world has ever been,” Lawes explained.

“We hadn’t thought about it at all. We were so focused on the Olympics and the Olympic trials all season so it wasn’t really something that was on my mind until it happened.”

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Lawes also spoke glowingly about her dozen years curling under the tutelage of Jones, who has since announced that she will be joining Mackenzie Zacharias’ team out of Altona.

“To be honest, it’s been the most amazing dream come true that I could ask for. We’ve had so much success. 12 years ago, Jennifer and the girls took a risk on me,” Lawes said.

“I was 21 when I joined the team and they saw something in me. I am forever grateful for them for taking that chance. I learned more than I ever could have imagined and we made memories that will last a lifetime.”

Team Jones and Team Fleury will remain together through the final two Grand Slam of Curling events of the season before disbanding.

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