On Saturday morning, Feb. 3, Team Canada was practising at the Langley Curling Centre at the George Preston Recreation Centre.
It was one of the five to six weekly practices the players on the Langley/Royal City team have been carrying out to get ready for the 2018 World Junior Curling Championships in Aberdeen, Scotland.
Team Tardi became Team Canada when they posted an 8-4 victory over Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan rink in the men’s final of the 2018 Canadian junior curling championships in Shawnigan, Que.
To practice, the team has been making the rounds of Lower Mainland rinks, with practices happening or scheduled to happen in the Maple Ridge, Langley, Richmond, Peace Arch, Royal City, Delta and Chilliwack curling rinks.
“What’s been really great is all of those clubs have offered up the rinks for free,” said team manager/mom Anita Tardi.
Tardi said the shuttling to different rinks is because it is a busy time for local rinks and there isn’t a lot of available ice time, but playing on so many different rinks and different ice conditions is also excellent preparation for Scotland, where the ice conditions are unknown.
“Each club (in the Lower Mainland) kind of prepares their ice differently,” Tardi said.
The team Tyler Tardi, Sterling Middleton, Jordan Tardi and Zac Curtis will be leaving for Aberdeen on Feb 27.
The team has invited Jacques Gauthier — the Tardi brothers’ cousin and a Team Manitoba member — as an alternate for the trip to the World Juniors.
The competition runs March 3 to 10 and will be the second straight appearance for three of the four rink members — Curtis is the newcomer, replacing the aged-out Nick Meister.
The team will be looking to improve on a fifth-place finish at the 2017 World Juniors in Gangneung, South Korea.
“Our last round-robin game (last year in Gangneung), if we won we were in the Page one-two game but we lost (9-8 in an extra end to Scotland) and we were in the tiebreaker (losing 8-7 to Norway),” Tardi said.
“Losing that game was pretty devastating, to say the least. So we’re pretty excited to go back and try to bring it home this time.”