British Columbia Takes Gold at Canadian Junior Men’s National Curling Championships

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Team BC sweepers Jordan Tardi (left) and Nick Meister (right) work a shot from Tyler Tardi down the ice early in Sunday's final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

by Al Cameron, Curling Canada
Photos by Christian J. Stewart, ISN

January 29, 2017, Victoria, BC (ISN) – A year removed from helping Canada’s mixed team capture gold at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics in Norway, British Columbia’s Tyler Tardi and Sterling Middleton will take aim at another gold representing Canada when they head to the 2017 World Junior Championships, Feb. 16-26 in Gangneung, South Korea.

Team BC skip Tyler Tardi used pinpoint accuracy all game, including a hit and stick in the very last end, to defeat Team Ontario 9-7 in Sunday's Men's final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team BC skip Tyler Tardi used pinpoint accuracy all game, including a hit and stick in the very last end, to defeat Team Ontario 9-7 in Sunday’s Men’s final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The skip and vice-skip respectively for Team B.C. combined with second Jordan Tardi (Tyler’s older brother), lead Nick Meister and coach Paul Tardi (the Tardi brothers’ dad) to win the men’s gold medal on Sunday at the 2017 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, presented by Ambrosia Apples, beating Ontario’s Matthew Hall (Kitchener) 9-7 in a thoroughly entertaining final at the Archie Browning Sports Centre in Esquimalt.

Team Ontario skip Matthew Hall encourages his sweepers on a particularly delicate shot during the final against Team BC Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team Ontario skip Matthew Hall encourages his sweepers on a particularly delicate shot during the final against Team BC Sunday (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“I’m getting chills right now,” marvelled Tardi, whose team represented the Langley and Royal City (New Westminster) curling clubs. “There’s literally no words you can possibly say. It’s a dream I’ve always had, and it’s always seemed so distant. Now that it’s here, it’s just an unreal feeling. It’s pretty spectacular.”

Team BC's Sterling Middleton is all focus as he delivers a stone during Sunday's final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team BC’s Sterling Middleton is all focus as he delivers a stone during Sunday’s final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

The game turned in the later ends. Ontario — Hall was backed up by third Jeff Wanless, second Joey Hart, lead David Hart and coach Ray Bushfield — recovered from being down 4-1 at the fifth-end break by scoring two in the sixth end and adding a steal of two in the seventh to take the lead.

Team Ontario's David Hart (right) calls out to his skip as he and his brother Joey Hart (left) sweep a rock down the ice (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team Ontario’s David Hart (right) calls out to his skip as he and his brother Joey Hart (left) sweep a rock down the ice (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

But Tyler Tardi, an 18-year-old student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, shut the comeback down emphatically, making a precision double-takeout with his final delivery of the eighth end to score four and take a three-point lead.

Team BC's Jordan Tardi keeps a close eye on the line of his shot during Sunday's Junior National final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team BC’s Jordan Tardi keeps a close eye on the line of his shot during Sunday’s Junior National final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“I thought it was there for three, for sure,” said Tardi. “ I wasn’t sure if it would tick our own rock out. I was pretty happy with the result. We definitely needed a momentum swing since they’re really good when they get the momentum. So we really needed to take it back from them.”

Team Ontario's Joey Hart is all focus as he delivers a stone during Sunday's final against Team BC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team Ontario’s Joey Hart is all focus as he delivers a stone during Sunday’s final against Team BC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Hall would come back with a deuce in the ninth, but Tardi made an open nose hit for the victory to prompt a loud celebration from the B.C. home crowd.

Team BC's Nick Meister (right) and Jordan Tardi (left) work a stone down the ice during Sunday's final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team BC’s Nick Meister (right) and Jordan Tardi (left) work a stone down the ice during Sunday’s final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“We gave them everything we had and we have nothing to be ashamed about,” said Hall. “I’m so proud of my guys for the whole week; it was so amazing, and today we just came out on the wrong side of the inch. We had one bad break and couldn’t quite scramble back from it.”

Team Ontario's Jeff Wanless delivers a stone during Sunday's final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team Ontario’s Jeff Wanless delivers a stone during Sunday’s final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

It was B.C.’s fifth men’s gold medal at the Canadian Juniors, and first since Brad Kuhn prevailed in 2000 at Moncton, N.B.

Team BC's Sterling Middleton watches his shot anxiously during Sunday's final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team BC’s Sterling Middleton watches his shot anxiously during Sunday’s final against Team Ontario (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Tardi and Middleton joined Nova Scotians Mary Fay and Karlee Burgess on Team Canada at the Youth Winter Olympics, and Middleton said that experience could help in the preparations for the World Juniors.

Team Ontario sip Matthew Hall yells at his sweepers to lay off during Sunday's final against Team BC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team Ontario sip Matthew Hall yells at his sweepers to lay off during Sunday’s final against Team BC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

“I guess it gives us a slight advantage because we know what to expect, we know how we’ll be feeling (wearing the Maple Leaf), and we kind of know how to prepare,” said Middleton. “So if we can do a lot of the same stuff that we did in Norway, then I think we’ll do pretty good.”

Team Ontario's Joey Hart (left) takes a peek down the ice as he and Jeff Wanless (right) sweep a stone towards the house (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team Ontario’s Joey Hart (left) takes a peek down the ice as he and Jeff Wanless (right) sweep a stone towards the house (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

For Paul Tardi, the chance to coach a Canadian champion was special — but doing it with his family made it even better.

“With both of my sons, it can’t be any more exciting than that,” he said. “Tyler’s had a lot of opportunities (with Junior Olympics), but to have my older son part of it to go to Junior Worlds, it’s just amazing.”

Team Ontario skip Matthew Hall (left) scratches his head as he and David Hart (right) try to figure out some strategy against Team BC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team Ontario skip Matthew Hall (left) scratches his head as he and David Hart (right) try to figure out some strategy against Team BC (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Nicholas Rabl, who played lead for Team Alberta this past week, will accompany the team to South Korea as the alternate.

As Ontario's Jeff Wanless crosses behind, Team BC skip Tyler Tardi prepares to embrace teammates (from left) Nick Meister, Sterling Middleton and Jordan Tardi following their win in Sunday's final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
As Ontario’s Jeff Wanless crosses behind, Team BC skip Tyler Tardi prepares to embrace teammates (from left) Nick Meister, Sterling Middleton and Jordan Tardi following their win in Sunday’s final (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Earlier Sunday, Alberta’s Kristen Streifel (Edmonton) won the women’s gold medal with a 5-3 win over Ontario’s Hailey Armstrong (Ottawa).

Team BC takes the victory stroll after their win.  From left, Tyler Tardi, Sterling Middleton, Jordan Tardi, Nick Meister and Coach Paul Tardi (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
Team BC takes the victory stroll after their win. From left, Tyler Tardi, Sterling Middleton, Jordan Tardi, Nick Meister and Coach Paul Tardi (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

Streifel, vice-skip Chantele Broderson, second Kate Goodhelpsen, lead Brenna Bilassy and coach Amanda-Dawn St. Laurent announced later that Burgess, who also won the World Junior Women’s title with Fay last season, will join the team in South Korea as an alternate.

The 2018 Canadian Junior Championships will take place in Shawinigan, Que.

The 2017 Canadian junior champions - (front row from left), Team BC Men: Nick Meister, Jordan Tardi, Sterling Middleton, Tyler Tardi;  (back row from left), Team Alberta Women: Brenna Bilassy, Kate Goodhelpsen, Chantele Broderson, Kristen Streifel (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)
The 2017 Canadian junior champions – (front row from left), Team BC Men: Nick Meister, Jordan Tardi, Sterling Middleton, Tyler Tardi; (back row from left), Team Alberta Women: Brenna Bilassy, Kate Goodhelpsen, Chantele Broderson, Kristen Streifel (Photo: Christian J. Stewart / ISN)

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