Tyler Tardi and his team will be competing in Cranbrook next week at the men’s provincial championships. (Black Press Media files)

Langley curlers head for showdown in Cranbrook

Team Tardi will be competing in the B.C. men’s championships next week in the Kootenays

There’s a battle brewing in Cranbrook next week, involving some Langley boys.

It’s the Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship and the 2020 BC Men’s Curling Championship, and it will be a battle of youth versus experience at these championships – happening from Jan. 28 to Feb. 2 is the East Kootenays, say organizers with Curl BC.

That’s because teams with some of the youngest players at this level of competition have performed exceptionally well this year on the World curling tour circuit.

Both Team Tardi (Langley/Victoria) and Team Brown (Kamloops) were the province’s Canadian team ranking system top performers in 2019-20, which means they earned more points than any other B.C. team in competition throughout the season.

The majority of the players from those teams are also under the age of 25.

However, they will be up against some of the most seasoned competitors in the sport – competitors that are used to winning a BC final.

Defending champion Jim Cotter will be looking for his ninth trip to the Brier and will be returning with his team of Steve Laycock and Rick Sawatsky, adding Andrew Nerpin to replace Tyrel Griffith.

On the women’s side, Team Wark will be returning with their lineup of skip Sarah Wark, third Kristen Pilote, second Carley Sandwith and lead Jen Rusnell. Wark is a B.C. champion at the junior level (2005), in mixed competition in 2009 and 2014, and in the women’s game last season.

Team Brown, featuring skip Corryn Brown, third Erin Pincott, second Dezaray Hawes and lead Ashley Klymchuk, have put on some stellar performances this year, notably winning the China Open in December. They also have a Canadian gold medal at the junior level under their belt, but have yet to break through at the Scotties, winning a silver medal last year.

Wark said she liked seeing the younger teams on the roster and enjoyed playing against them.

“It is super exciting to see so many younger ladies coming up through juniors and sticking with it, it’s definitely made BC’s field stronger,” she said.

“It definitely helps push the older generation to go with the way of the times in terms of fitness and new techniques and mentalities. I think we can learn equal amounts from them as they can from us really.”

Brown said her team was keen to keep the momentum that they have had this season going.

“It’s been a really great season we have had a lot of success so we just want to keep that going. We are really looking forward to going to provincials and we know Cranbrook will put on a good event.”

RELATED STORY: Tyler Tardi takes aim at men’s competition

Team Tardi, with skip Tyler Tardi (who lives in Cloverdale), third Sterling Middleton, second Jordan Tardi and lead Alex Horvath, are no strangers to pressure, having been to more than one junior world championship. Tyler and Sterling were at three world championships, winning gold at two of them, Jordan went twice and won gold before aging out and Alex joined the team last year for their gold medal win in 2019.

Playing alongside Langley’s Team Tardi and Team Cotter in the men’s competition will be BC Curling Tour winners Team Wenzek (Royal City) and Team Geall (Abbotsford/Royal City). The other teams in the mix include Team Dangerfield (Victoria), Team Montgomery (Victoria), Team Jackson (Victoria), Team Medford (Cranbrook), Team Wood (Penticton/Kelowna), Team Salviulo (Castlegar), Team Richard (Kelowna), Team Longworth (Vernon), Team Olsen (Kamloops), Team Joanisse (Golden Ears/Royal City), Team Dennis (Royal City/Salmon Arm) and Team Thompson (Vancouver).

In women’s play Team Daniels from Delta Thistle is another team featuring youth players (Skip Sarah Daniels and lead Sarah Loken are under 21). Meanwhile Team Gushulak from Royal City, Kelowna and Vancouver curling clubs features players with many BC Scotties appearances under their collective belts.

The four other women’s teams to have qualified for the 2020 Scotties BC Women’s Curling Championship were Team Thompson (Kelowna) and Team Richards (Kelowna/Victoria) . Team Pewarchuk from Victoria and Team Slattery from Vernon/Kelowna qualified at the first open playdown in Abbotsford in December.

Ticket and event information for both the men’s and women’s championships is available online.

The semi-finals and finals of the women’s and men’s events will be broadcast on CHEK and streamed at cbc.ca/sports/. The broadcast schedule is posted online.

MORE: While Newfoundland thaws, that province’s junior curling teams take to Langley ice

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