The Chronicle Herald
Published: December 11, 2017 – 6:25pm
Last Updated: December 11, 2017 – 7:06pm
For a curling team to be successful, all four players need to be playing in unison. But ultimately the winning and losing of points comes down to the final two stones thrown by the skip.
And few in Canadian curling have done it as well as Colleen Jones.
Jones has skipped teams to 21 appearances at the Canadian Scotties Tournament of Hearts championship.
Her teams have won six of those national championships. Her first Canadian title came in 1982, at the age of 22, with her Mayflower team of Kay Smith, Monica Jones and Barbara Jones-Gordon.
It took 17 years to get the next championship. After that, the Nova Scotia team seemed unstoppable.
Starting in 1999 the Jones team of Kim Kelly, Mary-Anne Waye (Arsenault) and Nancy Delahunt, went on to win five of the next six Hearts championships, including an unprecedented four in a row from 2001-2004.
During the historic run the Jones’ foursome also won world championships in 2001 and 2004, capturing silver in 2003.
For her excellence on the ice, Jones was voted No. 2 in the Nova Scotia Sport Hall of Fame’s Top 15 poll recognizing the province’s all-time greatest athletes. The No. 1 athlete in the history of the province will be unveiled on Monday, Dec. 18.
Joel Jacobson, chairman of the selection committee for the Top 15, said Jones was a near-unanimous choice for the No. 2 position.
“I think it’s because of the accomplishments overall, the long history of winning so much nationally and at the worlds,” said Jacobson. “The skip of the team obviously gets the credit but it’s a team sport and she would admit herself that you don’t do this on your own, you do it with your team.”
Jacobson also cited the dedication that Jones exhibited throughout her career in changing different aspects of the game.
“It just shows her total contribution to the sport and the fact that she was one of the early ones who started the physical workout part of it, making herself an athlete rather than just going out there throwing rocks. I think she dedicated herself and therefore her team to working out, training, watching diet, throwing a zillion stones every winter to make sure they knew what they were doing.”
And the workout habits of the Jones foursome finally paid off on the world stage.
The 2001 world championship in Lausanne, Switzerland, started on an ominous note for Jones. They lost their first two games but managed to keep pushing forward and rolled off seven straight victories to finish atop the standings with Sweden’s Anette Norberg.
The Canadian reps hammered Denmark in the semifinals and beat Nordberg 5-2 for their first world crown.
The Jones rink took a different route to their 2004 world championship victory.
The foursome needed wins in their last two draws to put them in a tie for second place and a spot in the semifinal.
In the semifinal Jones scored three in the ninth end and one in the 10th to beat Switzerland 8-6. In the final, Jones curled 89 per cent to lead her team to a win over Denmark’s Dordi Nordby.
The Scotties title run would end in 2005. Jones finished the round-robin at 6-5 and lost in a tie-breaker to Sandy Comeau of New Brunswick. The crowd at the Mile One Stadium in St. John’s gave the Jones rink a standing ovation.
In 2006, Jones and her crew made another charge at the Scotties but lost in a semifinal to Team Canada’s Jennifer Jones.
At the end of the 2006 season the team parted ways, with Jones joining Kay Zinck as her third. The rest of the team got a new skip in Laine Peters.
Jones would make one more appearance at the Scotties in 2013 as a second for Arsenault’s Nova Scotia rink. The team missed the playoffs with a 5-6 record.
Jones continues to curl at a high level, capturing the world senior championship earlier this year in Lethbridge, Alta. Jones and her team of Kelly, Mary Sue Radford and Delahunt defeated Switzerland for the world crown.
The Mayflower foursome advanced to the worlds by winning the Canadian championship in Digby in 2016.
Jones also owns a pair of Canadian mixed curling championships, winning in 1993 in Swift Current and 1999 in Victoria.
She made her first national impression in 1979 at the Canada Games in Brandon, Man., winning the silver medal.
Jones is a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, Canadian curling hall and the Nova Scotia hall.
Rounding out the Top 15 are: figure skater Robert McCall at No. 15, kayaker Mark de Jonge No. 14, wheelchair sprinter Jamie Bone No. 13, gymnastics sensation Ellie Black No. 12 and kayaker Karen Furneaux No. 11.
Softball player Mark Smith was voted No. 10, canoeist Steve Giles No. 9, sprinter Aileen Meagher No. 8, marathoner Johnny Miles No. 7, boxing legends George Dixon at No. 6 and Sam Langford at No. 5, swimming sensation Nancy Garapick at No. 4 and NHL superstar Al MacInnis at No. 3.