There’s little time for the Langley-based curlers from Team Tardi to celebrate their national victory this past weekend in Esquimalt.
That’s because they’re on their way to a series of other competitions in the coming days that will take them around the globe.
“There is so much to do in the next two weeks,” said Anita Tardi, the team manager and mother of two of the teammates, Tyler (skip) and his older brother Jordan (second).
The Cloverdale-based Tardi boys, joined by Langley’s (lead) Nicholas Meister and Sterling Middleton (third) – making up Team BC – brought home the gold from the week-long competition on Vancouver Island.
Next up, they are all competing in the mixed doubles provincials this weekend, then they have the men’s provincials next week.
“Then it’s a short turnaround before they fly to Gangneung, South Korea for the 2017 VoIP Defender World Junior Curling Championships, which take place from Feb. 16 to 26,” Anita told the Langley Advance.
While there’s much still to come for the boys, they did take a moment to enjoy Sunday’s victory at the 2017 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, describing their success on the ice as a dream come true.
“They are so excited that they will be representing Canada with the maple leaf on their backs,” said Anita.
“It was a fantastic week. The ice was great, the volunteers were amazing, the host committee was fantastic and the other competitors were outstanding. It was such a great field of athletes this year.”
The Tardis beat Matthew Hall and his team from Kitchener, Ont. 9-7 in the final Sunday afternoon.
“I’m getting chills right now,” marvelled Tardi, whose team represented the Langley and Royal City (New Westminster) curling clubs.
“There’s literally no words you can possibly say. It’s a dream I’ve always had, and it’s always seemed so distant. Now that it’s here, it’s just an unreal feeling. It’s pretty spectacular,” Tyler said.
The game turned in the later ends.
Hall was backed up by third Jeff Wanless, second Joey Hart, lead David Hart and coach Ray Bushfield — recovered from being down 4-1 at the fifth-end break by scoring two in the sixth end and adding a steal of two in the seventh to take the lead.
But Tyler, an 18-year-old student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, shut the comeback down emphatically, making a precision double-takeout with his final delivery of the eighth end to score four and take a three-point lead.
“I thought it was there for three, for sure,” said Tyler.
“ I wasn’t sure if it would tick our own rock out. I was pretty happy with the result. We definitely needed a momentum swing since they’re really good when they get the momentum. So we really needed to take it back from them.”
Hall would come back with a deuce in the ninth, but tyler made an open nose hit for the victory to prompt a loud celebration from the B.C. home crowd.
“We gave them everything we had and we have nothing to be ashamed about,” said Hall.
It was B.C.’s fifth men’s gold medal at the Canadian juniors, and first since Brad Kuhn prevailed in 2000 at Moncton, N.B.
Tardi and Middleton joined Nova Scotians Mary Fay and Karlee Burgess on Team Canada at the youth Winter Olympics, and Middleton said that experience could help in the preparations for the World juniors.
“I guess it gives us a slight advantage because we know what to expect, we know how we’ll be feeling (wearing the maple leaf), and we kind of know how to prepare,” said Middleton.
“So if we can do a lot of the same stuff that we did in Norway, then I think we’ll do pretty good.”
For Paul Tardi (coach and Tardi brothers’ dad), the chance to coach a Canadian champion was special – but doing it with his family made it even better.
“With both of my sons, it can’t be any more exciting than that,” he said. “Tyler’s had a lot of opportunities (with junior Olympics), but to have my older son part of it to go to Junior Worlds, it’s just amazing.”
The 2018 Canadian junior championships will take place in Quebec next year.
CAPTION: Langley’s Nicholas Meister (above) was lead for Team Tardi (Team BC), which won gold at the 2017 Canadian Junior Curling Championships this past weekend.
CAPTION: Team Tardi’s skip, Tyler Tardi (above left), looks on as his team faced off against Ontario for the Canadian junior title this past weekend.
CAPTION: The Langley-based Team Tardi (Team BC) won gold at the junior nationals Sunday.