Abbotsford hosts best men’s curlers in BC next week

By Rebecca Connop Price

BC’s best men’s curling teams will descend on Abbotsford next week with the 2017 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championship, presented by Fountain Tire, set to take place at Abbotsford Curling Club Feb. 8-12.

This tournament will showcase the top 12 men’s teams from across the province — including this past weekend’s national junior championship team from Surrey/Langley Team Tardi — and will decide the BC team that will go on to compete at the 2017 Tim Hortons Brier.

“This tournament brings together BC’s best men’s curling teams and will provide some of the most exciting curling this province has seen this year,” Curl BC CEO Scott Braley said. “Curl BC is confident Abbotsford will put on a top-notch tournament for curling fans from across the province.”

Teams from Burnaby/New Westminster, the Kootenays, Victoria and Vancouver Island, Kelowna, Vernon, Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey will compete in this provincial championship tournament. Among the teams is six-time BC champion Jim Cotter, from Vernon, who is curling with Alberta’s John Morris as well as Kelowna’s Tyrel Griffith and Rick Sawatsky.

Hometown curlers Dean Joanisse and Sean Geall will skip two teams in Abbotsford, although representing rinks from outside the Fraser Valley. Visit for a complete team roster.

“The Abbotsford Curling Club is excited to be hosting this prestigious event and to have such talented curlers on our ice,” club manager Kent Bird said. “We’re encouraging the community to come out and support this event that showcases our popular club and sport.”

Tickets for the 2017 belairdirect BC Men’s Curling Championships are available through the Abbotsford Curling Club’s website at:

For live scores and the draw schedule, visit

Four playoff games will be televised on Shaw TV on February 11 and 12. For the television coverage or for more information about the Curl BC championship, visit:

The 2017 Tim Hortons Brier will take place from March 4-12, 2017, in St John’s, Newfoundland.

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Team Austgarden win 2017 BC Wheelchair Curling Championship

By Rebecca Connop Price

It was a great weekend for Gerry Austgarden from Kelowna, who claimed his fifth BC Wheelchair Curling title.

The skip was joined by 2010 Paralympic champion Darryl Neighbour, from Richmond, at third, as well as first-time champion Bob Macdonald and returning champion Janice Ing. The team was coached by Brad Burton.

Winning the BC title will mean another trip to nationals for Austgarden, who got his first taste of a Canadian championship in 2004, and then traveled again in 2005 (as the second BC team), 2010, 2012 and 2015.

The nationals take place in Boucherville, Que, from April 24-30, 2017. Austgarden led his team to victory at the national level in Boucherville in 2015 and will look to repeat the feat.

Neighbour will be on his sixth trip to nationals. He has also competed in three world wheelchair championships, winning gold at two of them.

The 2017 BC Wheelchair Curling Championship took place at Richmond Curling Club from January 27-29.

It featured three wheelchair curling teams including one skipped by Prince George’s Frank LaBounty, last season’s champion, as well as BC wheelchair curling veterans Alison Duddy, Ellis Tull, Vince Miele and coach Karen Watson. Team LaBounty got the silver medal.

Team Sticks and Stones, featuring skip Cyril Kinakin, third Mark Peeren, second Tracy Boyd, lead Zosia Ettenberg, were awarded bronze medals. The team from Langley and Kelowna features mostly newcomers to competitive wheelchair curling. The discipline is a Paralympic event.

To see the draws and end-by-end scores, visit

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Surrey and White Rock to host 2018 Canadian masters curling

By Rebecca Connop Price

Curl BC is pleased to announce that Surrey’s Cloverdale Curling Club and White Rock’s Peace Arch Curling Club have joined forces to host the 2018 National Masters Curling Championships from April 1-8.

The event will feature Men’s and Women’s 60+ Champions from provinces and territories across Canada and promises to be a highlight of next year’s curling season.

Curl BC’s CEO, Scott Braley, said: “We’re really pleased that the volunteers and staff of Cloverdale and Peace Arch have agreed to collaborate on hosting the 2018 National Masters Championships. The master curlers champions from across Canada are in for a treat when they visit Surrey, BC’s largest city, and the adjoining City of White Rock, which has arguably one of the most scenic beaches in Canada.”

The City of Surrey’s Matt Holbrook will serve as the General Manager for the event in cooperation with Co-Chairs Susan Martin from Cloverdale and Darrell Zbeetnoff from Peace Arch. Matt can be reached at in the lead up to the championships.

A website has been set up and will be updated as more information is finalized. Visit

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Team Tardi win gold medal for BC on home soil

By Rebecca Connop Price

A year removed from helping Canada’s mixed team capture gold at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympics in Norway, Tyler Tardi and Sterling Middleton will take aim at another gold representing Canada when they head to the 2017 VoIP Defender World Junior Championships, Feb. 16-26 in Gangneung, South Korea.

The skip and vice-skip respectively for Team B.C. combined with second Jordan Tardi, lead Nick Meister and coach Paul Tardi 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.

“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.”

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.

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.

“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.”

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.

“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.”

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.

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.

“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.”
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.”

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

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.

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Team BC shines on and off the ice at Canadian Juniors

By Rebecca Connop Price

By Al Cameron, Curling Canada

Tyler Tardi’s focus this week is on the ice at the Archie Browning Sports Centre, as he chases gold at the 2017 Canadian Junior Curling Championships, presented by Ambrosia Apples.

But the 18-year-old skip and his team from the Langley and Royal City (New Westminster) curling clubs are also aware of the big picture, and that curling can open a lot of doors in a lot of ways.

On Friday, for instance, Tardi and his team — vice-skip Sterling Middleton, second (and older brother) Jordan Tardi, lead Nick Meister and coach Paul Tardi (Tyler and Jordan’s dad) — paid a visit to nearby Craigflower Elementary School. A former teacher of the Tardi brothers, Michelle MacFarlane, is now the principal of the school, which is located on the traditional territories of the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations and has a large indigenous population.

“We walked in and all the kids were waiting for us when we got there; they were all excited — ‘Oh, it’s Team B.C.,’ ” recalled Tardi on Monday, moments after a 5-4 win over Ontario’s Matthew Hall (2-1; Kitchener) that left B.C. still unbeaten at 3-0. “For a lot of them, it was their first exposure to curling. It’s nice to get the word out about our sport.”

Many of those kids returned the favour on Tuesday morning when they visited the Archie Browning Sports Centre to watch B.C. play Northern Ontario’s Tanner Horgan in a crucial round-robin game at 9 a.m. BC won that one, to improve to a 4-0 win-loss record.

“The kids are absolutely excited about coming to the game tomorrow,” said Craigflower vice-principal Jana Dick. “The B.C. team were great ambassadors; the kids loved them.”

That’s just an example of Team Tardi being not just great curlers (three-quarters of the team won bronze at the 2016 Canadian Juniors, while Tyler Tardi and Sterling Middleton joined with Nova Scotians Mary Fay and Karlee Burgess to win gold at the 2016 Youth Winter Olympics in Norway) but great citizens, too.

They’ve done fundraising work for both B.C. Children’s Hospital and the Sandra Schmirler Foundation, and both Tardi and Middleton won $1,000 scholarships from the Curling Canada Foundation. Tardi added a $5,000 Spirit of Sandra Scholarship from the Sandra Schmirler Foundation — all the result of combining curling prowess with academics and community leadership.

“It just feels good to give back,” said Tardi. “A lot of people give to us, and it’s always a good feeling to give right back.”

A year after taking bronze, the B.C. team arrived in Victoria with expectations, a situation it’s embracing.

“Well, we like the pressure, especially being the home-province team,” said Tardi. “And we really like playing with pressure; it feels good, it pumps us up, which we like. But I wouldn’t say there’s a big target; there are around six teams here who are pretty much even.”

In other men’s games Monday afternoon, Manitoba’s JT Ryan (Winnipeg) improved to 4-0 in his bid to make it five straight Canadian junior men’s titles for his home province, scoring three in the extra end for a 9-6 win over Quebec’s Vincent Roberge (0-4; Lévis); Northern Ontario’s Horgan foursome (3-1; Copper Cliff) broke the game open with a steal of three in the fifth end en route to a 12-4 win over Nunavut’s Arthur Siksik (0-3; Rankin Inlet); and New Brunswick’s Liam Marin (3-1; Saint John) rolled to a 9-3 win over Sawer Kaeser of the Northwest Territories (0-4; Fort Smith).

In women’s play, Team Brown from BC is 3-2 with Nunuvat to play this afternoon.

The full scoreboard can be viewed at

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