They thought the season was over. Boy, were they wrong.
Earning gold at the world junior championships was a dream come true for Langley’s Team Tardi.
And having fought so hard for that victory, the local team has now been invited to participate in the elite Grand Slam Champion Cup in Alberta later this month.
When Team Tardi’s (a.k.a. Team Canada) returned home from Aberdeen, Scotland last month with the medals around their neck, the boys talked of hibernation, wrapping up schooling, getting back to work, hitting the links, and enjoying a relaxing summer.
“It was a long season, absolutely,” said team skip Tyler Tardi. “And I think we’re all due for 10 weeks of sleep.”
His teammates nodded in agreement.
But, it turns out the world champions have a few games still to play.
The global title also scored Team Tardi a spot in this season finale competition at the Olympic Park in Calgary from April 24 to 29, where some of the best curlers in the world will play in the Sportsnet Grand Slam of Curling’s Humpty’s Champion Cup.
This event features teams such as the Sweden’s Team Edin and Canada Team Gushue.
Teams must win a high-profile tournament during the course of the season in order to receive an invitation to the Humpty’s Champions Cup – event such as the European Championship, Winter Olympics, U.S. National Championship and Tim Hortons Brier.
This time out, Team Tardi will be represented by Cloverdale resident Tyler as skip, his older brother Jordan Tardi in his last run as lead (also of Cloverdale, Jordan ages out after this season), Sterling Middleton of Fort St. John in third, and Jacques Gauthier (Tardi boys’ cousin) of Manitoba in second.
“They are pretty excited, to say the least,” their manager and team mom Anita Tardi, who noted the team will not be able to practise much in advance of this competition.
“Since this is a post end of year event, it’s hard to get practice ice – since most of the clubs are done for the year,” Mom elaborated.
“They have practised when they have found some ice. But really, it will come down to their practice ice time before the event,” she said.
Tyler, Sterling, and Jordan competed in a tier two Grand Slam event in Cranbrook back in November 2016. They missed out on the playoffs.
Accolades at home
Coming off the win in Scotland, the Langley Curling Centre recently held a congratulatory celebration for the boys.
Peter Muir of Curl BC congrats Team Tardi and acknowledged how much work they’ve put in during the past decade to get to this point.
He called it “a wonderful performance in Scotland,” and said “the entire Canadian curling community is very proud of what you’ve accomplished.”
Out on the ice at the Langley Curling Centre, retired club manager Nigel Easton helped recognize the “great team of youngster,” as well as their support team.
Reflecting back to 2007 when the began and were practising at the Langley Curling Centre, he explained how Team Tardi had a rather rough start.
Easton recounted Tyler, in his new role as skip, had a “really bad delivery” and a chicken leg that flopped all over the ice when he threw a rock.
“I had the pleasure and honour of to actually be the boys’ first coach and taking them to juveniles,” Easton said, explaining it was a time before Tyler and Jordan’s father Paul was their coach.
“That was about as far as I could take them, because they wouldn’t listen to me…” Easton said, commiserating with Paul, who joked that they don’t listen to him, either.
He turned to the team, and Tyler in particular, and thanked him for a shirt gifted to Easton back when he retired. It was a shirt from when Team Tardi went to the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer.
“I expect in a few years to have a Brier shirt after you win gold,” Easton not so subtly hinted.
“You’ve been tremendous ambassadors of sport of curling. You’re a tremendous ambassador for the Langley Curling Club. And we, and myself included, are extremely proud of what you’ve done for our sport, and our club. Keep it going boys,” Easton concluded.