Something new for golden Canadian duo

Canada's Brent Laing and Jennifer Jones warming up in Gangneung © WCF / Eakin Howard

Ever since they won their national title to qualify for this event, Canadian curling’s golden couple Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing have been causing quite a stir at home in the build-up to their debut at international mixed doubles competition.

Between them, they have a combined nine national championships, five world titles, three Olympic appearances and an Olympic gold medal. All of this in men’s and women’s team curling, but so far, nothing in mixed doubles, although that may well change this week.

So why get involved in this new discipline?

Jennifer explains, “We just love it, we love to play with lots of rocks in play. Fortunately for us, we get to play with our spouse, so it’s great to get to do what we love to do together.”

Jennifer Jones and Brent Laing © WCF / Eakin Howard

Her husband Brent adds, “It’s a faster game, it’s a shorter game. We just love to play it. It’s a fun game to play, it’s a scary game to play – it’s non-stop pressure, and that’s part of the fun.”

There is a line of thought that says Canada has been slower than elsewhere to embrace the mixed doubles discipline, but Jennifer and Brent think that’s changed now.

Mixed Doubles within Canada

Jennifer says, “I think mixed doubles has really take off in curling clubs. It’s a great way to start curling – you only need to find one friend instead of three! The public is enjoying mixed doubles, especially at the Olympics. We just need to get more television time so the fans can really latch on.”

And Brent adds, “Our national championships were in Sudbury, Ontario, and it was packed all week, sold out. They did a fantastic job. That’s a good sign that mixed doubles is really taking on. It’s got a lot of work to do. Streaming on Recast is great, but, as Jen says, it’d be good to get it on some networks.”

And perhaps that is changing too, as Brent explains, “The Mixed Doubles Super Series that we have in Canada is moving to seven events, which is pretty cool. The Tour is getting bigger and bigger in mixed doubles, and that’s making it harder to play both [mixed doubles and team curling] and I think that’s a good thing.”

The fact that the Tour is supported and broadcast by CBC also helps in spreading its popularity.

Canada have made a good start in this event. As Brent says, “So far, so good. We’ve played a lot of the top teams and we’re still looking good for a play-off spot, as long as we can finish up, we’ll be ok.”

Team Canada © WCF / Logan Hannigan-Downs

And when asked the million dollar question – “who calls the shots?” – the answer might be a surprise.

Straightaway, Jennifer says, “Definitely it’s him that calls the shots, he’s the boss.”

Brent gives a more in-depth reply, though, “For the most part, I’m too stubborn, so we just go with my plan unless I call something really stupid, and that seems to work.”

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Gangneung, South Korea

26 April 2023
World Mixed Doubles Curling Championship 2023