Swift Current is playing host to the Canadian Mixed Curling Championship for the second time in its history, and the first time since 1993.
The city’s curling club was located at the Stockade Building that year when Team Nova Scotia, skipped by Scott Saunders with his wife Colleen Jones at third, won the event over Team Alberta.
Thirty years later with the curling club now located at Innovationplex and Jones now a six-time Canadian women’s curling champion, Colleen is back in Swift Current competing at the Canadian Mixed as lead for Paul Flemming’s Nova Scotia rink with her son, Luke Saunders, joining her on the front end and Luke’s fiancée, Marlee Powers, at third.
“It’s nice to come back 30 years after we won this event in Swift Current, and I was pregnant with my son at the time and now, here he is, 30 years later, curling on the team,” Jones said after Nova Scotia defeated Saskatchewan 8-6 in the opening draw on Sunday. “I couldn’t have dreamed it up, but I’m glad that dreams come true.”
Jones shared some memories of that first Canadian Mixed, saying it was a fabulous event in 1993.
“They had a lot of extra things to do in the evenings, different barbecues in the middle of winter, and the curling was just really good,” she said. “I think that's one thing that never disappoints me, and that’s why I love mixed curling for all kinds of reasons, but the curling was terrific. And then to win it, we had lost a couple of finals in the Canadian Mixed, so to finally win it was pretty awesome. I also remember, because I was maybe seven to eight weeks pregnant, being exhausted all the time and just wanting to go back to the hotel and sleep.
“[Swift Current] has grown in 30 years, like that whole strip mall of chain stores at the edge of town and I see a lot of new houses out there... it just seems bigger to me now,” Jones added. “Also, 30 years ago, we took drives out to see grain elevators. Those are the equivalent to our lighthouses, so I’m nostalgic for that when you get into anywhere. Rural Nova Scotia and rural Saskatchewan, you kind of see gems like that, so hopefully I’ll be able to do that, because it’s warmer! Every other time I’ve curled in Saskatchewan, it’s always at least –25 to –30.”
Jones captured her first Canadian women’s championship in the first year the event was known as the Scott Tournament of Hearts at what was then the Agridome in Regina in 1982, and says Saskatchewan still holds a special place in her heart.
“I love playing in Saskatchewan,” she said. “You don’t get this kind of atmosphere in other places, so it’s pretty nice.”
Jones and Team Nova Scotia will take on Quebec in the morning draw at 10:00am today and will face Ontario in the evening draw at 6:00pm tonight. Round-robin play continues through the week with the semi-final and final on Saturday. Admission for spectators is free for the entire event.