Langley area curlers: ‘Great’ ambassadors of the sport

Several athletes who play out of Langley Curling Centre were lauded for efforts on and off the ice.

There’s a pair of new faces being added to Team Tardi for the fall, but it was the accomplishments of last year’s team that were lauded this weekend by Curl BC.

The Langley-based team was presented with the U21 team of the year award during a ceremony in Burnaby on Saturday night.

Consisting of Cloverdale skip Tyler Tardi, Fort St. John’s third Sterling Middleton, Cloverdale’s second Jordan Tardi, Coquitlam’s lead Zachary Curtis, alternate Jacques Gauthier (the Tardi’s cousin from Manitoba), and Cloverdale’s coach Paul Tardi, this season the team repeated as the B.C. and Canadian junior men’s curling champions, ultimately returning to the World Junior Curling Championships and improving upon their previous performance – namely they returned home with a gold medal.

“Along with their incredible performances at the provincial, national, and international levels, this team has been incredible ambassadors of the sport of curling,” Melissa Soligo said, when introducing the boys and their coach during the awards ceremony.

“They always look beyond themselves – they regularly volunteer in their respective communities and are well known for their goodwill in the curling community. In particular, the members of Team Tardi regularly give back to other junior curlers, sharing their skills and talking with young curlers on and off the ice,” said Soligo, who served as the team’s leader when they competed for the Worlds title in Scotland in early February.

“Individuals from across the province, the country and the world have taken notice of how Team Tardi raises the bar both on and off the ice,” she added. “…Team Tardi has certainly made B.C. proud.”

With the oldest of the Tardi boys, Jordan, aging out of his position as second on the team, and last year’s lead Zachary Curtis leaving to pursue other ventures, the team has brought on Matthew Hall out of Ontario to play second, and Vancouver Island’s Alex Horvath to play lead.

These are both young men who Team Tardi has played against in the past two years at the provincial and national level, said coach Paul Tardi.

They were so impressive with the player’s performances on and off the ice, that when the search began for two Team Tardi replacements, these young men immediately came up on the team’s radar, the coach added.


Never too old to win

In the meantime, two other Langley individuals were also commended for their efforts in curling on the weekend, each also scooping up provincial accolades.

Team Lepine was presented with the 50-plus team of the year award.

This team, consisting of Craig Lepine – who curls out of the Langley Curling Centre – as well as Craig McLeod, Kevin Jeannotte, and Neil Houston.

They were acknowledge for their achievements on the ice, having won gold at the BC Masters Championship and silver at the Canadian Masters Championship on home ice in Cloverdale.

Lepine and McLeod also competed on a senior team that won the BC senior men’s championship, explained Scott Braley, the CEO for Curl BC.

“Craig Lepine and his team regularly exhibit great sportsmanship both on and off the ice, continually setting an example to curlers both young and old,” Braley said.

“They are great promoters of the sport and are actively involved in volunteering and giving back to their curling communities.”


Newbie to the sport

While one adaptive curler from Delta was lauded for his successes in competition this past year, Bob MacDonald wasn’t the only adaptive curler honoured this year.

Curl BC also singled out the efforts of Langley’s Tracy Boyd, on the developmental end of curling.

“Tracy has only been curling for two years, but has been extremely dedicated to recruiting more wheelchair athletes to the sport,” said Braley.

“Tracy regularly demonstrates great sportsmanship and is constantly working to improve her own curling skills,” he elaborated, noting that Boyd has also become a curling coach for the Special Olympics, officiated at the BC junior championships, and has competed in the International Wheelchair Bonspiel Canadian Open and the BC Wheelchair Curling Championship.


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