The first junior men’s curling team to win gold at the national level since 2000 is among the athletes and volunteers who will be honoured at an awards ceremony in June.
Team Tardi, featuring Tyler Tardi, Sterling Middleton, Jordan Tardi, Nicholas Meister and coach Paul Tardi, represented Canada at the 2017 World Junior Curling Championships in South Korea. They just missed out on a medal at the world level because of a tiebreaker that didn’t go their way. The team has won the Curl BC 2017 Team of the Year Award.
Skip Tyler and third Sterling have also been named the joint 2017 Junior Male Athlete of the Year. In addition to their success at the Junior (U21) level the two curlers won a bronze medal (alongside Victoria curlers Derek Chandler and Scott Gray) at the inaugural Canadian U18 Curling Championships.
This team is no stranger to awards. This is the fourth time that Team Tardi has been named Team of the Year, with Tyler having had three previous nods for Junior Male Athlete of the Year and Sterling having also won the same award last year.
Tyler, brother Jordan and dad Paul all hail from Cloverdale, Surrey, while Sterling is a Burnaby-based BCIT student originally from Fort St John. Nicholas Meister hails from Langley. The team won the 2017 BC Junior Men’s Curling Championship at Royal City Curling Club, winning them their ticket to the nationals in Victoria and eventually the worlds.
A total of 14 awards will be handed out at the event which recognizes the vital contribution that volunteers, coaches, insiders and athletes have made to the sport of curling in BC over the past year.
Ron Phillips, the Chair of Curl BC’s Recognition and Awards Committee, paid tribute to the winners, saying: “Once again we are amazed by the commitment and dedication of our athletes, who continue to perform so well on the national and world stage. We are also in awe of all the volunteers who put so much into making our sport enjoyable for all. These awards are in grateful recognition of all the people who are so supportive of our community.”
Junior Female Athlete of the Year – Alyssa Connell (Prince George)
Alyssa skipped a team that won the 1st Annual Central Interior Junior Cash Spiel and finished third at the 2017 BC Junior Curling Championships at Royal City Curling Club. Her Prince George rink qualified for playoffs via a tiebreaker, and ended up playing two more games than other top teams had played. Alyssa was described in her nomination as a “true leader” who “overcame any mental challenges that confront skips”. In addition to her competitive success, Alyssa is also a volunteer, giving her time to help others improve their game. The skip, who will attend UNBC in the fall, ran the Prince George Curling Club’s Junior program for the past two years. Alyssa went one step further this season by working weekly with a small group of “keen” soon to be competitive junior curlers on an additional day. The kids love her and she has really passed on her passion for curling to many of them.
Master Team of the Year – Team Klebe (Chilliwack)
Team Klebe features Janet Klebe and Kerri Miller of Chilliwack, Jane Adam of Rosedale as well as Laurie Shimizu and coach Vic Shimizu, of Richmond. The team won gold at the 2017 BC Masters Curling Championships at Cranbrook Curling Club and bronze at the 2017 Canadian Masters Curling Championships in Guelph. In addition to curling at a top level, team members give their time to the curling club they represented. Janet works evenings and weekends at the club. She calls it her “happy place” and loves to be there! Jane retired a few years ago and now runs the junior curling program as well as volunteering for bartending, barbecuing or anything else asked of her. Kerri also retired and moved to Chilliwack a few years ago and she and her husband have been valuable additions volunteering for many things including clinics, school classes and bartending. All the ladies enjoy their time together and although they love to win they enjoy their time together much more.
Adaptive Curling Athlete – Janice Ing (Richmond)
Janice Ing was part of Team Austgarden, the winning team at the 2017 BC Wheelchair Curling Championship. She was also on the team that won the Richmond Mixed League. Janice was the alternate on Team BC last year and stepped up this year to the lead position for Team BC. Janice is committed to improving her game and will continue to be a contender in competitive wheelchair curling. This is because not only has she been active in her league and at the provincial level, but she has also put in extra time by practicing many hours during the week to improve her game.
Wally M’Lot Award for Official of the Year – Donna Butler (Cranbrook)
Donna is highly respected as an official not only in the province of BC but across Canada and at the World level. Donna is always available for events including regional events. She has travelled the Kootenay pass many times to help out at varying events. She is quick to mentor others and share her knowledge. She is a steady, reliable official who thinks on her feet and ensures that events are officiated with the competitors in mind. She keeps up-to-date on all the rule changes and is always encouraging others to achieve the highest standard of officiating.
Anita Cochrane Award for Coach of the Year – Brett Kury (Team Joanisse)
Brett Kury coached Team Joanisse during the 2016-17 season, when the team were runners up at the 2017 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship, and won the Kamloops Cash, came third at the Tour Challenge (Tier 2) Grand Slam of Curling and won the Abbotsford Cash. Brett was described as a “phenomenal man whose dedication to curling is unparalleled.” John Cullen, lead for Team Joanisse, said: “Brett is understanding, kind, caring, loyal, and would do anything to help the team win. Outside of that, he offers additional consulting to teams whenever they ask, is a great contributor to his home club of Royal City, and cares more about the sport of curling than almost anyone I know.”
Provincial Sponsor of the Year – belairdirect
In 2016, Canadian Direct Insurance, a company that has been sponsoring curling in BC since 2007, joined forces with Canadian company belairdirect. The company, which kept its offices in Vancouver, worked with Curl BC to continue its generous support of BC curling under the belairdirect brand. A new contract was signed retaining the same great benefits. Thanks to the partnership, Curl BC is able to promote the member benefit that members qualify for 10% off home, condo and tenant insurance. New for this season, members were also given the opportunity to be part of a group discount for auto insurance. Curl BC is grateful for all that this company continues to do.
Curling Centre of the Year – Coquitlam Curling Club & Cranbrook Curling Club
The Coquitlam Curling Club has been an enthusiastic host to many recreational and competitive curling events. While talk of removing the curling ice from the club’s home at the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex dominated headlines, members of the club were still busy in the background serving the curling community. Notable was the curling event of the 55+ BC Games in September and the BC Winter Games camp and Podium Preparation camp hosted at the club. With leadership from President Earlene Graham, the club members have enthusiastically attended city hall meetings en masse to show support for their club. The efforts of the members meant they were able to postpone an early (Sept 2017) implementation of this re-purposing of the rink and the city will keep to the original (Sept 2018) implementation, allowing our club to have a 2017-2018 curling season. While this may be the last season for the club at this venue, it is worthwhile to note the legacy it is leaving. Over the years, volunteers have run a Saturday morning Learn to Curl program and volunteered with the Special Olympic curlers. Over the last 10 years the club has also run a very successful school curling program. The club has trained several club coaches to work with students from grades 4 through 12. This program has steadily grown in numbers and we often have to turn schools away because there is no ice available to book them into. This year we had 2,465 students participating in 56 school visits. The schools involved return year after year, with new schools joining as well.
The Cranbrook Curling Club had a fantastic season, opening its doors to the Junior Optimist, Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge and 2017 BC Masters Curling Championships. The club has an excellent volunteer base who do not hesitate to step up to get the job done right. General Manager Chris Medford, who nominated the club, said: “When we were granted the Grand Slam of Curling Tour Challenge, I was really impressed by the support from the community. We had over 200 volunteers who worked roughly 25 hours, that’s 5,000 volunteer hours.” The club’s recent success comes on the heels of what seemed like a gloomy future. Because of low participation in curling, a 2007 proposal was for the club to be turned into a indoor tennis or badminton courts. But that proposal was turned down and the community has rallied behind the rink. The club is now growing every year, including a junior program. Chris describes the sport as having done a “U turn in the past decade”. “We want to continue the growth of the sport we so love.”
Elsie MacKenzie Youth/Junior Curling Award – Carmen Murray (Elkford)
Carmen is a committed and competitive athlete who enjoys sharing her passion for curling with the youth. She has a professional and positive attitude with a great sense of humour. These attributes, along with her rapport with the kids, are what make her a great coach who has been able to drive the growth of the youth program at Elkford Curling Club. Carmen coaches Little Rookies and Junior curlers, leading events and activities for 35 curlers in four leagues. On top of that she travels with 12 Optimist curlers to other clubs in the East Kootenays. This past year she even entered a team and organized a trip to the Grand Slam of Curling in Cranbrook. She has a year-round commitment to the sport and is always looking for opportunities for our young curlers.
Volunteer of the Year – Anita Tardi (Langley Curling Centre)
Anita Tardi is an ambassador for the Langley Curling Club and more than just a mom of high profile curlers Tyler and Jordon Tardi. She wore many hats for the team at nationals and during the worlds, among them planner, driver, chef, sponsorship procurer, bookkeeper, statistician, website guru and more. Anita has given up plenty of her own personal time to curling, not just for her boys but for other juniors too. Anita is a great leader and was devoted to the Langley Curling Club Junior program for many years. She created programs and kept everything so well organized that replacing her was simplified. Her efforts to improve procedures and processes kept it running successfully after she stepped down. Her devotion and encouragement for Tyler and Jordan to give back to the club is so enlightening and it makes the entire membership so proud of this team. Although the boys have “out-grown” the Langley Curling Club junior program Anita sets up regular Saturday visits and the boys do some teaching and inspirational speaking to the kids which lights them up. What is really amazing is the humbleness of this team as a whole; and they really follow Anita’s leadership. She is truly deserving of recognition yet she wants none.
Long Service Volunteer of the Year – Dave and Lei Davies (Esquimalt)
Dave and Lei Davies started curling at Esquimalt Curling Club 25 years ago and have never looked back. Their true passion for curling is as strong today and it was when they became members. In that time they have served as league directors, including president of each league they have played in. They have also been part of the Esquimalt Curling Club executive since 2005. Both have been Club President and VP. Dave was instrumental in the development of the Sr. Select mixed 55+ in 2005 which has expanded to two leagues. Lei has been the Esquimalt Curling Club Curl BC rep since 2013. They have served on committees and worked as volunteers for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and World Men’s Curling Championships. The nomination described the pair as “always being there” when called upon.
Judie Roberts Friendship Award – Judie Roberts (Victoria)
Judie Roberts was a true friend to curling. he became involved with the BC Ladies Curling Association in the 1980s where she was District Convenor and Secretary, and was part of the committee that amalgamated curling in the province. In 2004 she received the Janette Robbins/Builder/Sport BC President’s Award, and she served as President of Curl BC from 2005 to 2007. Judie was named a Life Member of Curl BC in 2007, and maintained her ties to the organization by contributing to several curling development programs, while also volunteering with Curl BC’s Awards and Recognition Committee for the last few years. Judie passed away peacefully on April 7, 2017, at Victoria Hospice after a busy “retirement” during which she refused to let cancer prevent her from travelling, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying life. To honour her dedication to curling, the Curl BC Board voted to name the Curl BC Friendship Award in her honour.
Ron Houston Award – Administrator of the Year – Ron Houston (Vernon)
Ron Houston was the long-time manager of the Vernon Curling Club who passed away peacefully on June 27, 2016, at the age of 79. Born on a farm in Ochre River, Manitoba, Ron’s life took him to Winnipeg and Thompson. He then settled to Vernon where he was the Manager of Vernon Curling Club for 25 years, retiring in 2000. His years at the Curling Club as well as the Vernon Golf Club introduced him & his wife Beth to the many close friends they would have fun with over the years. In honour of Ron, Curl BC created a new award for 2016-17 which will be handed out annually at the Curl BC Awards. The Ron Houston Award will recognize a hard-working curling administrator.