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Canadian curler Chelsea Carey says don’t compare me to Jennifer Jones Achi-News

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Canadian curler Chelsea Carey says don’t compare me to Jennifer Jones


Achi news desk-

Chelsea Carey wants to be clear. She’s not trying to fill Jennifer Jones’ curling shoes.

Carey has been given the reins of skipping Jones’ young team which is second in Canada and fourth in the world.

Six-time Canadian champion Jones, who is also a two-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist, retired from team curling earlier this month after the final Grand Slam of the season.

“I don’t feel comfortable being put in the same conversation as Jennifer because I think she’s the greatest curler of all time right now,” Carey said. “People keep saying ‘you’re going to try to fill her shoes.’ I’m not going to try because nobody can. I don’t think that’s possible.”

Jones’ former teammates, all Manitobans aged 25 and under, chose Carey to replace Jones and skip them to the 2025 Olympic trials.

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Third Karlee Burgess, second Emily Zacharias and lead Lauren Lenentine reached both national finals with Jones.

Carey captained Albertan teams to Scotties Tournament of Hearts titles in 2016 and 2019. The 39-year-old from Winnipeg lives in Calgary where she is director of marketing and communications for KidSport.

Carey has curled out of Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan during a career that includes seven Hearts appearances.

Click to play video: 'Team Canada's Chelsea Carey looks to repeat Scotties win with dad by her side'

Team Canada’s Chelsea Carey is looking to repeat the Scotties win with dad by her side

However, it did not have a full-time team in 2023-24. Carey went down on different teams including Jones’ team.

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Carey Burgess, Zacharias and Lenentine took second place in Edmonton’s Saville Shootout and the Stu Sells 1824 Halifax Classic.

She also skipped Switzerland’s Michele Jaggi in four tour events, and saved Kate Cameron at the Canadian Open in January.

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“After my last team split up, I deliberately didn’t put a team together last year,” Carey said. “That was a conscious choice on my part to take a little step back. When I did that, I assumed I wouldn’t be playing on a full-time team for the rest of the (Olympic) circuit, maybe eventually as a fifth or just filling in. I had made my peace with that.”

He saw relegation for different teams as possible auditions for the next four Olympic years.

“It was more of an opportunity just to stay relevant in Canada when shifts start happening,” Carey said. “I wanted people to know that I’m still around, but I’m not going to do anything until the next cycle unless something extraordinary happens, which has happened.

“You change your plans when something like this happens.”

When Jones declared that this year’s national championship in Calgary would be his last, Carey waited until after the Tournament of Hearts in February to reach out to the team.

She knew that in doing so she would be setting herself up for comparisons with Jones.

“This was the only thing that made it difficult to do. Nobody really wants to be put in that position to be compared to because it’s unmatched right now,” Carey said.

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Carey was given the nod after she was interviewed by Burgess, Zacharias and Lenentine.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around a game of curling without Jennifer Jones,” Carey said. “It’s going to come eventually, but I think it’s surprised everyone that it’s now, so I didn’t expect that to be a vacancy.

“It’s such a good opportunity that you know a lot of people are going to be following it.”

Carey and company will not know how many events they will play in their first season together until the World Curling Tour and Grand Slam schedules are released.

What is clear is that they do not have to win the Manitoba championship to curl in the 2025 Tournament of Hearts in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Under Curling Canada’s new qualifying rules, Carey gets an early berth as the No. 2 team in the Team Canada Ranking System behind No. 1 Rachel Homan, who will return to the Hearts as the defending champion.

The top three CTRS teams that had not already qualified at the end of the 2023-24 season earned national championship berths. They are all from Manitoba. Kerri Einarson at No. 3 and Kaitlyn Lawes at No. 4 join Carey and Homan in the Thunder Bay field.

& copy 2024 The Canadian Press


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