Six-time Scotties winner Colleen Jones is not a fan of Canadian curling rinks making sweeping changes to their team.
Over the past few weeks, curling saw somewhat of a free agent frenzy as Rachel Homan’s rink replaced Lisa Weagle with Joanne Courtney as lead, just weeks after winning the Canadian Championship.
Olympic mixed doubles curling champion John Morris also announced he was joining Kevin Koe’s rink.
For Jones, she believes all these changes don’t necessarily improve their teams, as it is all about having the right lead.
WATCH | Colleen Jones not a fan of curling free agent frenzy:
“Canadian teams have gone crazy with trades ever since this whole Olympic thing started. I’m thinking, I don’t know [if] you really strengthen a team that much. Let’s take Rachel Homan’s team. Is that team really stronger now? Is it a stronger team? You took the best lead in the world with Lisa Weagle and now you put Joanne Courtney who was a solid second at lead,” Jones said on Instagram Live with CBC Sports’ Devin Heroux.
“I don’t know if you improved at the lead position one iota and here’s why. Of all the positions on a curling team, the lead is an art. The rest of us, can, oh we are generalists, we know how to draw. A lead has it down to exactly how it’s done, they are artists. The best of the leads are career leads. Take Don Bartlett who curled with Kevin Martin.”
At the 2019 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, Weagle threw an impressive 86 per cent and went 10-4.
In the two games in the 2014 tournament where Weagle and Courtney went head-to-head, Weagle won both games throwing 88 and 86 per cent, while Courtney curled at 83 per cent both times.
According to Jones, who now works at CBC, she believes teams can’t just replace the lead as easily as these teams are trying to.
“I’m not saying you can go from second to lead. I think lead is such a practiced skill. Dawn McEwen, she’s never played another position, well maybe in juniors. The great leads are just genius at it. They go off and throw 92 per cent with ticks,” she explained.
“So, when you look at Rachel’s team, you go, is that an improvement? Is Sarah [Wilkes] going to be as good as Joanne at second stone? They were second at the Scotties with Rachel and Joanne, new moms playing outstanding, they played an outstanding game but they were up against a team that was on fire and destined to win.”
With the entire sports world on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, curling fans will have to wait to see whether or not the free agent additions pan out.