Winnipeg’s Kaitlyn Lawes will compete for Canada at the 2018 Women’s World Curling Championship in North Bay, Ontario after she competes in mixed doubles curling at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The decision was made by Jennifer Jones prior to the start of the 2018 Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Penticton, British Columbia, which was won by Team Manitoba on Sunday.
Jones needed to find a substitute for Lawes after the team won the Manitoba Tournament of Hearts for the seventh time. With the Scotties Tournament of Hearts ending so close prior to the start of the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Lawes could not compete in both competitions. (She is playing mixed doubles curling with fellow Canadian Olympic gold medalist John Morris of Canmore, Alberta). Jones decided on Shannon Birchard as her temporary third at the Scotties. Birchard skipped Manitoba to two Canadian Junior Curling Championship Finals in 2012 and 2013.
The decision by Jones was brilliant, as Birchard was fabulous throughout the week. In Sunday’s championship game, Jones defeated Kerri Einarson, the wildcard representative, 8-6, in an all-Winnipeg final.
Now the spotlight will shift to Lawes, who will try to make history with Morris as the first ever Olympic gold medalists in mixed doubles curling. Their first game in their quest will actually be Wednesday evening (5pm MT on CBC) as they take on Team Norway.