Longtime Jennifer Jones manager Dawn McEwen announces plans to retire from curling


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Dawn McEwen knew before the start of the curling season that this would be her last year playing at the top level of the game.

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What the longtime head of the Jennifer Jones team didn’t know was how special her final season would be.

“I’ve been playing the game for a long time now and I knew that would be it for me,” McEwen said Saturday from his home in Winnipeg.

“The fact that we got to go to the Olympics and represent Canada was just amazing, and the biggest icing on the cake. It couldn’t have ended better. »

McEwen, one of the best and most decorated leading players in women’s curling history, announced her retirement on Saturday.

The 41-year-old starred for Team Jones from 2007-2022 and made her announcement less than a month after representing Canada at the Olympics for the second time.

McEwen has won five Canadian championships, two world titles, won the Canadian Olympic Trials twice and won a gold medal at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

“Wow this has been a ride of a lifetime,” McEwen wrote in her announcement, which was posted on social media.

“I feel very at peace with my decision,” she added in a phone interview with The Sun.

“We all have to stop at some point, so I said it was a really good time for me. I’m in a really good place and I’m happy.

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McEwen, originally from Ottawa, has lived in Winnipeg for 15 years and is raising two young girls (Vienna, 6, and Avalon, 11 months) with her husband Mike, also a top Canadian curler.

“I really want to be home with my girls more,” McEwen said. “To be at a high level in our sport is a chore. It is exactly what it is, with teams and players constantly trying to improve. If you want to be at the top, you have to work for it. I’m just at a point now where I have a lot more to do in my life.

McEwen was part of the Canadian women’s team at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. Jones, Kaitlyn Lawes, Jocelyn Peterman and McEwen finished 5-4 in the round robin but missed the playoffs due to a tiebreaker formula.

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McEwen was one of the top point guards at the Olympics, curling 89.3%, second best among all players. That’s how it has been throughout her career and is one of the reasons she was voted the greatest female curler of all time in a 2019 TSN poll.

“I think the assessment that she’s the greatest lead of all time is very applicable,” said Jill Officer, who threw second rock for Team Jones for many years.

“(The well-known male header) Don Bartlett once told her she was the best header in the game, male or female. She took it as a real honor and I don’t think most people would disagree with that. It’s a huge accomplishment.

McEwen’s first appearance on the national curling scene was actually in 2005, when she was Jenn Hanna’s second at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in St. John’s, NL.

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Her team actually lost to Jones in the final that year, but she made a big impression on the older, more experienced captain, and two years later she moved to Winnipeg to be with Mike and join the Jones team.

“It was like fate,” McEwen said. “It felt like things had to be.”

“Fate brought us together and hard work, kindness, support and friendship have kept us together for so long,” Jones added.

The officer retired a few years before McEwen, but she continues to marvel at her former teammate’s consistency, shooting ability and sweeping skills.

“She and I had a great, head-on relationship and spent a lot of time together and she’s still one of my best friends,” Officer said. “I love her to death and I’m happy to see that she’s at peace with her career and ready to move on.”

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McEwen was definitely the quietest of the Jones quartet. She just went about her business and was rarely in the spotlight.

“Dawn was always the person on the team that didn’t always talk a lot, but when she did talk, you had to listen,” Officer said.

That’s saying something, considering McEwen was playing with the most decorated female captain of all time at Jones.

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that Jones is the greatest curler to ever play women’s football and McEwen was happy to have a front row seat to excellence.

“The teammates I’ve had throughout my career are icons of this sport,” McEwen said.

“(Jones) is the reason our team has done so well. His leadership skills alone are so inspiring. Just to see how it performs and functions makes you want to achieve that as well. She’s so good at making you better and it’s been a privilege to be a part of her.

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Jones said McEwen was equally influential.

“Dawn is truly one of a kind,” Jones said. “For me, what stands out the most is her good soul. Her sense of humor is probably second to none too. I’ll miss seeing her on the ice. She and I could make eye contact and we knew what the other thought.

“It all depends on his talent and his work ethic. She wouldn’t quit a practice until her shots were perfect. She would be relentless. She threw 30 stones before she succeeded. It was amazing to watch.

While there are still many top players in women’s curling, McEwen won’t be easy to replace.

“She just finds that level of consistency at these big events and she was really in tune with herself,” Officer said. “She was quietly connected to herself in such a way that she was able to repeat that pulling speed all the time. She found a way to play at that level all the time when it mattered.

McEwen will remain with the Jones team for the remainder of the 2021-22 season. The team will compete in the Grand Slam Players Championship (April 11-16 in Toronto) and the Champions Cup (May 2-7 in Regina).

Until then, McEwen has many memories to relive as her career draws to a close.

“Curling has been amazing for me,” she said. “It’s unreal. I’m a little speechless on this. Some of the best memories of my life have to do with curling, my team and what we’ve accomplished.

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