Three-time national champion Lisa Weagle plans to step back from women’s team curling next season to focus on the mixed doubles discipline.
Weagle, who represented Canada at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games and at last month’s Beijing Olympics, is currently ranked No. 1 in the national mixed doubles rankings with John Epping.
“I’ve been feeling for a while that it was time for a bit of a change of pace,” Weagle said Wednesday. “I didn’t feel ready to commit to another four-year cycle on the women’s side.”
The 37-year-old lead won a world title in 2017 with Team Rachel Homan’s Ottawa-based rink. She left that team in 2020 and joined the Winnipeg-based Team Jennifer Jones, which recently announced its members would be going their separate ways at the end of this season.
“They gave me an opportunity to join the team and to have a really exciting new chapter of my curling career and I’ll always be grateful for that,” Weagle told The Canadian Press from Ottawa.
Weagle won her first national title in 2013 and took bronze at the worlds that season. She earned world silver a year later before helping the Homan team run the table in 2017 to end Canada’s nine-year world women’s title drought.
That squad also won Canada’s Olympic trials that year but didn’t win a medal at the Games. The Canadian women did not reach the Olympic podium last month in China.
Weagle will also devote some time to coaching in the future. She has been tabbed to serve in a coaching role with Scott Pfeifer at the world mixed doubles championship in Geneva.
Brett Gallant and Jocelyn Peterman, who plays second on Team Jennifer Jones, will represent Canada at the April 23-30 competition.
“Jocelyn and I have developed a really great friendship and a great relationship as teammates,” Weagle said. “I think she knows what I’m able to bring in terms of that coach/fifth role.”
There have been several high-profile four-player team moves in recent weeks on the domestic scene. Some big-name Canadian curlers — notably Laura Walker and Kirk Muyres — have declared their intention to focus on mixed doubles, which was added to the Olympic program in 2018.
“I do think it’s an exciting way to still be part of the sport at a high level but not necessarily having to commit to a full-time men’s or women’s team,” Weagle said.
Weagle said she’s not closing the door on a potential return to women’s team curling later in the quadrennial. She’ll likely re-evaluate plans after next season, she said.
Her next women’s team appearance with Team Jennifer Jones will come at the April 12-17 Players’ Championship in Toronto.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2022.
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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press