Canada skip Tyler Tardi could have chased more national and international junior curling history, but the 21-year-old B.C. skip is sacrificing his final year of junior eligibility to join the men’s ranks and get a head start on the 2021 Olympic curling trials. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Canada skip Tyler Tardi could have chased more national and international junior curling history, but the 21-year-old B.C. skip is sacrificing his final year of junior eligibility to join the men’s ranks and get a head start on the 2021 Olympic curling trials. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS

Tyler Tardi not tardy in jump from junior curling to elite men’s ranks

Tyler Tardi could have chased more national and international curling history in his final year of junior eligibility.

The 21-year-old skip from Langley, B.C., and third Sterling Middleton won back-to-back world junior championships and a record three straight Canadian junior titles.

Both are age eligible to enter the B.C. junior playdowns one last time, but they’ve said goodbye to the junior ranks.

He and Middleton dove into men’s competition this season with front end Jordan Tardi, Tyler’s older brother, and Alex Horvath.

“With the timing of the Olympics in the next two years, we just kind of wanted to get our foot in the door and get some more experience, sacrificing a year of juniors to make the pre-trials in the next two years,” Tyler Tardi told The Canadian Press.

“That’s kind of the goal right now is to sacrifice a year of juniors to make a bigger leap in a shorter amount of time.”

No skip has ever won three consecutive world junior men’s crowns. The Canadian juniors will be held Jan. 18-26 in Tardi’s hometown of Langley.

But Tardi was ready to curl out of his comfort zone.

“I think we were pretty satisfied with our record in juniors and wanted to look forward to bigger things,” the skip said. “Juniors is a great accomplishment and a great stepping stone.

“I think in the big scheme of things we’re setting our goals to more the men’s circuit and the big show. That’s where we want to be.”

Tardi won his first two Canadian junior championships with Jordan at second. Horvath was Tardi’s lead last season, so it’s a young foursome representing the Langley and Victoria curling clubs.

The jump from junior to competitive men’s curling can be demoralizing the first few seasons as young teams get thumped by more experienced rinks.

“I think we knew you’re going to get kicked around in men’s for a few years regardless of when you do it,” Tardi said. “Probably just want to get it over with as soon as we could.”

They’re holding their own on the World Curling Tour winning the Prestige Hotels and Resorts Curling Classic in Vernon, B.C., and reaching the finals of the Kamloops Crown of Curling and the Red Deer Classic.

Tardi laid the groundwork for the transition out of juniors last season.

On the heels of a third Canadian junior win in Prince Albert, Sask., Tardi entered the B.C. men’s playdowns. He went 2-3 and lost out in the C event.

World junior gold each of the last two years also gave Tardi’s teams a berth in the WCT’s season-ending Champions Cup.

The Grand Slam field includes curling powerhouses Kevin Koe, Brad Gushue, Brad Jacobs and Niklas Edin.

Measuring themselves against the world’s elite men’s teams reinforced Tardi’s belief he could compete.

“The first year we won a game and we didn’t really have many close games after that,” Tardi recalled.

“The next year, last year, we had one game that didn’t go so well, but the next three we lost on last shot.

“We kind of figured that there’s a chance there and with some hard work maybe we can turn those last shots to be in our favour instead.”

Tardi and company play another WCT event — January’s Ed Werenich Golden Wrench Classic in Tempe, Ariz. — before starting the B.C. men’s playdowns.

Tardi would love to make his Brier debut right out of the junior ranks at the Canadian men’s curling championship Feb. 29 to March 8 in Kingston, Ont.

“I don’t think there’s any teams that didn’t go to the Brier and had a lot of success, so it’s a big goal for us,” he said.

“There’s always a lot of big names there so if we can get there ourselves, I think we’re one step closer to being on that list.”

Tardi and girlfriend Dezaray Hawes have qualified a fourth time for the Canadian mixed doubles championship, which will be in Portage la Prairie, Man., next March. The duo reached the quarterfinals in 2019.

Tardi is featured in the 2020 Men of Curling calendar that raises money for the models’ charities. He’s fundraising for the Curling Canada Foundation and Childhood Cancer Family Support.

For his photo shoot, Tardi decided carrying a curling rock up a mountain would show off his muscles.

“I didn’t really plan that out too well,” he said. “It’s been a lot of fun actually.

“It makes you feel good because you’re doing it for a good cause as well.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SARS-CoV-2 virus particles, which causes COVID-19, emerge from the surface of cells isolated from a patient in the U.S. and cultured in a lab in a 2020 electron microscope image. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-HO, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories
Alberta adds 463 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday

The central zone has 818 active cases

Red Deer teacher Janelle Van Tetering had her students write letters to attach to Blankets of Hope, which will be donated to the Mustard Seed. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer teacher, students donate ‘Blankets of Hope’ to those in need

A Red Deer teacher and her students are giving warm blankets and… Continue reading

RCMP have charged a Sylvan Lake man for allegedly defrauding five people of more than $100,000.
Advocate file photo
20-year-old woman killed in collision: Blackfalds RCMP

A 20-year-old woman was killed in a collision on Saturday, says Blackfalds… Continue reading

Patrick Malkin, co-owner of The Granary Kitchen, says he wants the provincial government to lift COVID-19 restrictions that shutdown in-person dining. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer restaurant owner ‘frustrated’ in-person dining restrictions are still in place

Dr. Deena Hinshaw announced the restrictions won’t yet be eased this past Thursday

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
Alberta identifies 573 new COVID-19 cases, 13 deaths on Saturday

There are currently 9,727 active cases of the virus in the province

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

Toronto Maple Leafs' Alexander Kerfoot, centre, tries to get the puck past Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom, right, as Noah Hanifin looks on during first period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Morgan Reilly’s three assists lifts Maple Leafs to 3-2 win over Flames

Leafs 3 Flames 2 CALGARY — Morgan Reilly’s three assists helped the… Continue reading

Green Bay Packers' Adrian Amos (31) reacts after intercepting a pass intended for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Mike Evans during the second half of the NFC championship NFL football game in Green Bay, Wis., Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Road warriors: Bucs win 31-26 at Green Bay, reach Super Bowl

GREEN BAY, Wis. — Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ road… Continue reading

People arrive to be tested for COVID-19 at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, January 24, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Too soon to know if Canada’s COVID-19 case decline will continue, Tam says

MONTREAL — It’s still too soon to know whether the recent downward… Continue reading

Flowers are seen at the front door of Dr. Denis Vincent's dental practice in North Vancouver, B.C. on March 31, 2020, after he died of COVID-19. The British Columbia Dental Association has written a letter to Premier John Horgan urging him to include dentists in a priority group for the COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dentists, teachers disappointed they won’t be prioritized for vaccine in B.C.

VANCOUVER — Dentists and teachers are among the groups that are disappointed… Continue reading

Indiana Pacers guard Justin Holiday (8) shoots over Toronto Raptors forward DeAndre' Bembry (95) during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Anunoby’s hot hand helps short-handed Raptors beat Pacers

Raptors 107 Pacers 102 INDIANAPOLIS — OG Anunoby scored a season-high 30… Continue reading

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

OTTAWA — Under fluorescent lights, Wendy Muckle surveys the supervised consumption site… Continue reading

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) headquarters Connaught Building is pictured in Ottawa on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. nbsp; THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Taxpayers’ watchdog sees complaints spike, raising worries about pandemic tax season

OTTAWA — Canada’s taxpayers’ ombudsperson says his office has seen a steep… Continue reading

Most Read