Despite being sick, Tyler Tardi was on the ice Tuesday in Quebec, fighting to retain his team’s national junior title. (Curling Canada/Shawinigan Host Committee)

Sick, or not, Langley’s Tyler Tardi wouldn’t miss national competition

A Langley-based junior curling team is defending the national title, despite an ailing skip.

Early Tuesday morning, Team B.C. men’s coach Paul Tardi was preparing three-quarters of his defending national championship team to play a game at the 2018 New Holland Canadian Junior Curling Championships without their skip (and his son), Tyler Tardi.

Tyler had woken up feeling ill “we’ll spare you the gory details,” Dad said. But, suffice it to say there was plenty of reason for him to simply spend the day in bed, recovering.

But at the last minute, in walked Tyler.

And seven hours later, he was walking (barely) off the ice, having skipped his team made up of vice-skip Sterling Middleton, second and older brother Jordan Tardi, and lead Zac Curtis.

They secured a pair of victories, including a stolen 5-4 win over previously unbeaten Manitoba’s JT Ryan at the Aréna de Grand-Mère in Shawingigan, Que. that clinched first place in men’s pool A in the preliminary round.

“It hit me like a train this morning,” said Tyler, 19, who won gold a year ago in Victoria with Middleton of Burnaby and his brother (from Cloverdale); Curtis (of Coquitlam) replaced Langley’s aged-out Nicholas Meister.

“You never want to sit out, especially at an event like this; it’s only once a year. You have to pull through, even as hard as it is sometimes,” he said.

After a 5-3 win over New Brunswick’s Liam Marin in the morning draw, the game against Manitoba (5-1; Winnipeg) was another tight affair, with the Langley-based team not nailing it down until stealing a point in the 10th when Ryan was heavy with his draw to the full four-foot.

“I have to give it up to my cousin (Manitoba vice-skip Jacques Gauthier),” said Tardi, whose team improved to 5-1.

“Those guys made a lot of shots against us, kept us on our toes the whole game, and JT unfortunately missed his last one, which is very uncharacteristic of him. We got lucky with that one, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.”

The reigning champs have been pushed hard in the early going in Shawinigan – not necessarily a bad thing, said their coach, Paul.

“Of course, we’re trying to play it one game at a time; there are terrific teams in this pool, great teams all around, so every game has been really tough and tight,” he said. “It’s probably good for us to be in those kinds of games and just play it close.”

Tyler was eager to leave the rink and go to bed back at the hotel for some recovery time; needless to say, he won’t be visiting the players’ lounge at the hotel, said his dad.

“Oh, no,” Paul said with a laugh. “I’m trying to stay away from him myself.”

The winning teams Sunday will represent Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championships, March 3-10 in Aberdeen, Scotland. Team Tardi is hoping it will be them. Last year they represented Canada at the world junior championships in South Korea.

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Neighbour off to Leduc

A team of champions snatched up the gold during the BC Wheelchair Curling Championships held in Langley this past weekend.

Richmond’s Darryl Neighbour and his rink took the title and earned a spot at the Canadian championships in Alberta at the end of March

The victory came Sunday at the Langley Curling Centre, where silver went to Quesnel-based Team Duddy and bronze was presented to Langley’s Sticks ‘n’ Stones.

Neighbour, who won a gold medal alongside Jim Armstrong at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics, was joined by Gary Cormack at second. Cormack, from Surrey, was a 2011, 2013, and 2015 BC champion and 2010 national champion. Third Bob MacDonald and lead Janice Ing – who both hail from Vancouver – were on last year’s B.C. championship team.

WATCH: Langley team plays two games Saturday in quest for BC title

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In a new U16 matchup

Meanwhile, Langley curler Ashley Mallett has earned herself one of 16 spots in the BC Winter Games coming up next month in Kamloops.

The U16 player and skip from Langley will be accompanied by her coach and mother Marla. They’re representing the Fraser Valley Zone 3, along with third Kaelen Coles-Lyster, second Naomi Britz, lead Mackenzie Duffill, and fifth Jensen Recksiedler.

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Team BC, including Zac Curtis and Jordan Tardi, are fighting to win the national junior curling championships in Quebec this week. (Curling Canada/Shawinigan Host Committee)

Third Bob MacDonald prepared to set the broom for his skip, Darryl Neighbour. His team won the wheelchair curling provincials in Langley on Sunday. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

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