It wasn’t exactly planes, trains and automobiles, but there were certainly trying times for Team Tardi, which eventually landed in Aberdeen, Scotland, on Thursday for the beginning of the World Junior Curling Championships.
The Team BC rink – consisting of skip Tyler Tardi, third Sterling Middleton, second Jordan Tardi, lead Zachary Curtis, alternate Jacques Gauthier, coach Paul Tardi and team leader/coach and Curl BC provincial coach and high performance director Melissa Soligo – were caught up this week in the European storm dubbed The Beast.
Travel was sidetracked, not only for the group which represents Team Canada’s men’s rink at the prestigious event, but most teams arriving for the eight-day event, which begins Saturday.
Many teams still had not arrived by Thursday evening, which has prompted scheduling changes. For what is believed to be the first time ever, organizers have cancelled pre-competition practice, so teams will not see the ice until first games on Saturday.
“We are happy to finally be here. They are slowly arriving and we just hope that we have 10 teams playing when the time comes,” said Soligo.
The Tardi team is blogging its experiences along the way and that can be found here http://www.teamtardicurling.ca/2018-voip-defender-world-junior-curling-championship.html
“We left on time and arrived in London to what looked like a sprinkling of snow. Unfortunately, as we made our way to passport control to catch our next flight we received notification that our flight to Aberdeen was cancelled,” the team stated in its blog post.
“We were lucky that ours was one of the first to get cancelled and British Airways took very good care of us.”
The team was put up in the Renaissance hotel near the airport and set up with meal and shuttle vouchers. They managed to get some sleep and food and kept their fingers crossed that the next day flight would stick to schedule.
Fingers were crossed and after a hearty breakfast they made their way to the airport and luckily, although many other flights were cancelled, their venture to Aberdeen continued. They landed and, luckily, their bags, which were left at Heathrow overnight, were also on the flight.
“We were all so happy when we saw the broom bag,” they stated. “We were greeted by some very enthusiastic transportation volunteers who were so happy to have someone to drive. Apparently, we were only the third team that made it in the last two days.”
A reception and team meetings were slated for Friday.
Canada’s junior women’s team, led by skip Kaitlyn Jones of Halifax, had an even more troublesome travel schedule.
This is Tardi’s second straight trip to World Juniors, having lost a playoff tiebreaker to Norway last year in South Korea.
Overall Canada’s junior men’s team will be seeking a leading 19th World Junior crown (Scotland is second best with 10), but a first since Braden Calvert’s win in 2015. The woen will be seeking a fifth straight trip to the medal podium, including gold-medal victories from 2014-16.
Ten teams, from each gender, will compete in a round-robin draw, culminating with a four-team playoff, run in two semi-finals like the recent Olympics (first place vs. fourth and second vs. third) on Friday, March 9.
Tardi is set to open play Saturday at 6 a.m. Pacific time against Switzerland’s Jan Hess.
“Happy to be here,” said an anxious Tardi, who is looking forward to getting on the ice.
Event information, including news and live scoring, are available at the event website http://www.worldcurling.org/wjcc2018
As well, selected games will be streamed live on the World Curling Federation’s Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/WorldCurlingTV