A quartet of Langley up-and-comers on the curling front wrap up their season in New Brunswick this week – at last half them do.
That’s a reference to a junior team who made history this year – Team Tardi.
Tyler Tardi, the skip and team namesake, along with vice-skip Sterling Middleton, and team coach Paul Tardi are bound for Moncton to represent B.C. at the Canadian nationals.
As members of the Langley Curling Centre, they were sent off with some fanfare this past weekend, during the annual banquet to wrap up the club season.
“They had an amazing season last year,” said curling club president Troy Matsumiya.
“But this year, they blew it out of the water,” he said, listing off all their major accomplishments in front of a crowd of some 150 fellow curlers.
The team earned this chance at the nationals when they won during the BC U18 Curling Championships in Nanaimo in mid-March.
The competition in New Brunswick is a first-time event, and the team – consisting of the two local boys and two teammates (Derek Chandler and Scott Gray) from Victoria – is looking forward to some challenging competition.
In the meantime, they thanked the local club members for all the support – financial and emotional – given throughout the season.
“We have had a fantastic season and are so glad that we were able to bring home a Canadian championship,” Tyler said, referring to the nationals in Victoria.
While the original Team Tardi plays out of Langley, the only teammate who actually lives in Langley is Nick Meister, who ages out of junior level play at the end of this season. And only Tyler and Sterling are still young enough to play in this week’s U18 championship.
Tyler and his brother, Jordan, hail from Cloverdale, while Sterling is from Burnaby.
“Tyler and Jordan played with Nick for the last six years, and it is bittersweet that our season and our time with Nick in juniors has come to an end,” said team manager Anita Tardi.
“We have decided to continue to focus on juniors as a team, and wish Nick well as he embarks on his career in men’s,” she said. “Thanks for being such an amazing teammate. We wish you well and look forward to competing against you next season.”
Matsumiya called them the “hardest working” team in B.C.
“They started with a bang by winning the World Curling Tour Prestige Curling Classic, then played some of the best teams on the continent in the Grand Slam Tour Challenge Tier 2, where they made it to the quarter finals,” Matsumiya said.
“At the Provincial Junior Men’s Championship, they successfully defended their title and for a second year in a row captured the gold medal. At the Canadian Nationals in Victoria, the team dominated the round-robin to finish at the top of the standings and earn a bye directly into the finals.
“In the finals, they battled a very tough Team Ontario and won the gold medal in dramatic fashion to become the Canadian national champions. They also made history as the first B.C. junior men’s team to become national champions in 17 years, and are the second team from Langley to earn a national title.
“They also earned individual awards at the nationals, with Tyler named to the second team all-stars; Sterling won the fair-play award, and Paul won the national coaching award.
“And although there was no official award for this, I think we can all agree that Tyler deserves a special award for the ‘most-kick-ass double takeout ever’,” Matsumiya added.
“At the world championships in Korea, they battled the best teams in the world, making it to a tie-breaker and finishing in the Top 5.
“They had the highest overall team percentage, and Tyler was second among skips. Great job guys, congratulations. You’ve done your country proud. You’ve done your club proud. We are all so very proud of you.
“But wait,” the club president said. “There’s more. They also played in the BC Men’s Provincial Championship, the BC Mixed Doubles Championship, and Tyler and Sterling just won the inaugural BC U18 Boys Provincial Championship,” he concluded.
He wished them luck as they go on to represent BC this week at the new U18 nationals.
“I can’t wait to see what you will all accomplish next year,” Matsumiya said.