Tag Archives: Weagle

Lisa Weagle in for Team Jones as Dawn McEwen says no to bubble due to pregnancy

With exactly a month to go until the start of the Scotties inside the curling bubble in Calgary, Team Jennifer Jones has firmed up its roster.

Longtime lead Dawn McEwen is pregnant and expecting in April, and will not enter the bubble. That means Lisa Weagle assumes the role for the entire event. 

“I’m really excited to have the chance to play. You never know when you’re going to get back to another Scotties again so it’s nice to have that clarity,” Weagle told CBC Sports. 

“Obviously we wish Dawn was there with us as our five-person team but she’s got a baby to prepare for and we’re really thrilled for her.”

When Team Jones made the announcement that Weagle would be joining them after being blind-sided by the news she had been let go from Team Rachel Homan last March, eyebrows were raised across the curling world about the decision — many wondered how they would determine who would play what games.

“We made that decision for a variety of reasons. Obviously illness or injury or pregnancy were a few of those reasons and it worked out perfectly,” Jones told CBC Sports.


Dawn McEwen, left, longtime lead for skip Jennifer Jones, right, is pregnant and won’t be part of the Calgary bubble. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Manitoba stripes

After wearing the Ontario colours for years, Weagle is now ready to put on the Manitoba stripes and compete with what she calls a “powerhouse” curling team.

“I’m really excited. It’s been something to look forward to. And to be there with a new team. It feels like I’m a kid again. I have that sense of gratitude and the passion is back,” Weagle said.

“I’m just happy I was able to land on another world-class team. My family and friends have ordered a bunch of Manitoba hoodies and hats. They’re all in now.”

The team was able to play in a couple of events this past fall in Kitchener, Ont. Both Jones and Weagle say it was an immediate fit. 

“We’re really fortunate that Lisa is a world-class lead. It feels like we’ve been playing with her for a really long time,” Jones said.

Weagle says the team has spent countless hours on Zoom and FaceTime, planning and strategizing for the Scotties.

“We just have this amazing knowledge base we’re able to build on,” Weagle said. 

“We were laughing after our first meeting after our first game. It felt like I Had been part of the team for a really long time. Our communication has been great.”

Team Jones still has the opportunity to add a fifth player to its roster.

“We haven’t made that determination yet. The original plan when we put this team together was that we’d be a five-person team and we’re super happy for Dawn that she’s expecting,” said Jones. “The timing just doesn’t work for her right now and we’re totally supportive of that.”

WATCH | Heroux, Jones on the Calgary curling bubble:

Devin Heroux is joined by six-time Scotties medallist Colleen Jones to discuss the announcement of the Calgary curling bubble. 5:34

Scotties set for Feb. 19

The Scotties bubble is set to begin on Friday, Feb. 19 with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 28 — Curling Canada has said the field will include 18 teams this year due to unprecedented times in the midst of a pandemic. 

“I’m beyond excited but also know that the world we live in these days, things can change any given second. We’re just taking it day-by-day,” Jones said. 

Jones has won six Scotties titles as a skip, tied for most-ever with Colleen Jones. 

Weagle has won the Scotties three times as a member of Team Homan.

But now a new chapter for these players is about to begin.

“It’s going to look a little different and feel a little different with the bubble and wearing a Manitoba jersey but I’m really excited for all of it,” Weagle said. 

“At the end of the day, we all have the same goal and that’s to represent Canada.”

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Team Jennifer Jones adds free-agent all-star lead Lisa Weagle

All-star lead Lisa Weagle wasn’t a free agent for long.

Let go last week after a decade-long run with skip Rachel Homan’s Ottawa-based rink, she has joined Team Jennifer Jones.

The Winnipeg-based Jones rink, which includes third Kaitlyn Lawes, second Jocelyn Peterman and lead Dawn McEwen, will operate as a five-player team.

Jones and Weagle confirmed the news Wednesday morning in phone interviews with The Canadian Press. A formal team announcement was expected later in the day.

We connected instantly and our goals were aligned.— Lisa Weagle on her conversation with new teammate Jennifer Jones

“She’s just a super-talented player and one of the best leads to ever play the game,” Jones said. “She works hard on every aspect of her game. But at the end of the day, I think she’s a phenomenal person as well. So I think she’s just going to add a ton of value to our team in every aspect.”

Weagle’s departure from Team Homan was a stunner on the curling scene. They had won three national titles together and reached the Scotties Tournament of Hearts final last month in Moose Jaw, Sask.

‘I want to do everything I can to help the team’

Jones reached out to Weagle last Sunday and the five players firmed up plans for next season on a video call.

“We connected instantly and our goals were aligned,” Weagle said. “What struck me the most was hearing it in Jen’s voice that she wants to win and she’s very determined. This is an athlete that’s won everything there is to win in curling and she still wants to do more.

“That had me hooked and ready to go right away. I believe in her and I believe in her team and I want to do everything I can to help the team and be a part of it.”

The team plans to sort out the logistics of the five-player setup in the off-season.

Many teams use a fifth player as an alternate but they see limited ice time. That is not expected to be the case with Team Jones.

Busy week on domestic curling scene

Team Homan represented Canada at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics but did not reach the podium. Sarah Wilkes was brought on as Weagle’s replacement on Tuesday.

Team Jones won gold at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Jones is also a two-time world champion and six-time national champion.

The addition of Weagle is the latest move in a busy week on the domestic curling scene as several high-profile teams have made changes as they gear up to make a run at the 2021 Olympic Trials.

“We all have a little bit more jump in our step and we’re very excited,” Jones said. “We feel very privileged that Lisa would agree to play with us.

“A player of her talent, calibre, and just the person that she is, we feel it’s a huge privilege for us and we’re hoping that we can do some great things together.”

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Weagle shocked at Team Homan decision to part ways after successful 11-year run

Team Homan’s decision to part ways with Lisa Weagle dramatically changed the look of one of the country’s top rinks and put the all-star lead at the top of curling’s free agent list.

Weagle was shocked to receive word that the team would no longer need her services. She said she was informed when skip Rachel Homan and vice-skip Emma Miskew called her on Thursday afternoon.

A team statement was issued shortly thereafter.

“I wasn’t part of the discussions and it was a decision that was taken by the team,” Weagle told The Canadian Press on Friday from Ottawa.

The development was a stunner given that Weagle has had another strong season and is considered one of the best leads in the world.

Over her 11-year run with the Ottawa-based side, the team won three Scotties Tournament of Hearts titles, one world championship and represented Canada at the 2018 Winter Olympics.



 

The team statement said the change came with “mixed emotions,” adding the players value their friendship with Weagle and wished her the best. Homan, in an email late Friday afternoon, expanded on the decision.

“Lisa is one of the best leads in the game and we wouldn’t have had the success we achieved over the last few years without her,” Homan said. “The game is constantly changing and we need to change with it by restructuring if we want to keep up with the best teams in the world. Personnel changes play an important role in high performance for teams to be able to grow and thrive.

“If you’re always standing still you are getting passed. Giving the comparison to other high-performance sports, trading elite talented athletes is commonplace and curling is no different.”

There was no immediate word on Weagle’s replacement.

The team announcement, somewhat buried in the sports news cycle given the seismic developments on the coronavirus pandemic front, came on the same day the women’s world championship in Prince George, B.C., was cancelled.

The rest of this season’s schedule on the World Curling Tour is in doubt. The remaining Grand Slam events were cancelled on Friday.

Teams and players aren’t wasting time making moves as they look to the second half of the quadrennial.

Team Robyn Silvernagle will have a new-look foursome with only the skip and second Jessie Hunkin returning. And Team Chelsea Carey announced Friday that vice-skip Sarah Wilkes would be departing.

“It happens, it’s curling,” Carey said from Calgary. “I don’t know that we necessarily saw it coming but I don’t think you can be that surprised about anything to be honest.

“It’s just one of those times in the sport where that kind of stuff does happen.”

Productive tenure

Team Homan won its first Scotties title in 2013, added national crowns in ’14 and ’17 and won the Olympic Trials on home ice.

“I think all of these accomplishments are really the result of being on a team with great teammates,” Weagle said. “So I’m very proud of what we built together. We’ve come a long way and grown so much.

“I’m very grateful to them for having me as part of the team. I was able to achieve way beyond whatever I thought was possible.”

The team did not reach the podium at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Homan returned to the Scotties final last year but lost to Carey in an extra end.

Another extra-end loss followed at last month’s national playdowns, this time to Kerri Einarson.

‘Weagle’ shot

Weagle, who was named a first-team all-star at the 2020 Scotties, is known for using a high-difficulty tick shot that is risky but very effective if done consistently.

“What I love about it is it’s an important team shot,” Weagle said. “The sweeping, the line calling, the throw, it’s all really important and I think it brings an extra degree of skill to the lead position.”

Her signature shot is a big reason why chances are good she’ll be snapped up by another competitive team. The 34-year-old is still in her prime and few leads can match her experience.

She said she’s most proud of what Team Homan was able to build on the ice and the friendships along the way.

“I love the game, I love playing in big games, I love testing myself in competition,” Weagle said. “But mostly I love being part of a team.”

‘I think we’re going to stay friends’

Weagle will not be playing any other tour events this season with the Homan rink.

“Rachel was the one who called me to join the team 11 years ago so I think it’s fitting that she was the one to call me to tell me that they were going in a different direction,” Weagle said. “I’m great friends with the girls. I was a bridesmaid in Emma’s wedding.

“I think we’re going to stay friends but certainly the nature of our relationship will change now.”

This was Team Homan’s first full-time lineup change since second Joanne Courtney replaced Alison Kreviazuk in 2014. The team slipped a bit in the rankings this season, the first campaign since Homan and Courtney became mothers last year.

Homan is currently ranked fourth in Canada and eighth in the world. The team is hoping to get back to the Winter Olympics in 2022 in Beijing.

“We are not the first team to have gone through this difficult process and we won’t be the last,” Homan said. “It’s difficult because in other sports these decisions are made by coaches and general managers to prioritize the success of the team. Unfortunately in curling it’s not like that.

“Players have to wear multiple hats as the GM, as teammates, and friends. The challenge in making this team decision is not lost on any of us and it is an emotional time on a personal level.”

Weagle plans to spend the coming days replying to the dozens of messages she received while pondering her next move.

“I’ve been taking some time just to process this as it’s pretty new and evaluate my options,” she said. “But I know that I love the game and I want to be involved with it in some capacity. I’d be interested in playing for the right women’s team or potentially in coaching for Canada or internationally.

“Right now I’m open to all options at this point and I’m starting to look towards the future.”

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