When it comes to the expression “match made in heaven”, it would seem tailor-made for the new back-end combination of Wayne Middaugh and Glenn Howard.
They’re former teammates, of course, having played second and third, respectively for Russ Howard’s 1993 Brier and world championship team. And as rival skips since then, they’ve simply dominated the Ontario curling scene, with Howard having won the past six provincial titles (taking a Brier and world title in 2007) and Middaugh winning three times in eight years before that (claiming the 1998 Brier and world crowns), in addition to piling up unprecedented winnings on the cash circuit.
When they reunited as teammates at the 2010 Canada Cup of Curling in Medicine Hat, Alberta, it seemed they’d never been apart. Middaugh, whose own competitive team was playing a reduced schedule, was called in to replace Howard’s long-time third, Richard Hart, who had previous commitments.
Middaugh obviously fit right in as the Howard team, rounded out by second Brent Laing and lead Craig Savill, beat Kevin Martin in the final to qualify for this year’s Capital One Canada Cup of Curling, which runs November 30 to December 4 at the Cranbrook Recreation Complex.
So, when Hart told his teammates during the spring that he was retiring from competitive curling, finding a replacement was a no-brainer; the call went out to Middaugh, and he accepted immediately.
Middaugh, who has made seven trips to the Tim Hortons Brier, is one of the few skips who’ve completed the career Grand Slam on the Asham World Curling Tour (he’s won the Players’ Championship five times), and also claimed seven titles at the TSN Skins Game.
He’s also an accomplished golfer; he’s the general manager at the Port Carling Golf and Country Club, and a CPGA golf professional, with eight wins on the Ontario PGA circuit.
Birthdate: Sept. 20, 1967
Birthplace: Brampton, Ont.
Hometown: Victoria Harbour, Ont.
Curling Club: Coldwater CC
Current Team: Team Glenn Howard
Nickname: No. 2
Quick Hits with Wayne Middaugh
Do you have any superstitions?
“How many would be a better question; you never mess with a winning streak.”
Three people, living or not, whom you would invite to a dinner party.
“(Wife) Sherry (and daughters) Kelly and Emily to a dinner party on the back of a 180-foot yacht in the Mediterranean, eating burgers and swimming.”
If you could be a star any other sport, what would it be, and why?
“Golf — love the hot sun and you get to play Augusta every year.”
If you could change any rule in curling, which one would it be, and why?
“Time clocks. Time only the thinking time (as opposed to including the time when the rocks are in motion) and give teams less to make it faster for the fans.”
What music, if any, do you like to listen to before a game?
“All kinds, but back to the superstitions — it doesn’t change when on a winning streak.”
— Website? “www.portcarlinggc.com”
— Order from Tim Hortons? “Large tea, milk, three sugar, bag in.”
— Vacation destination? “Marco’s house in the Bahamas, Paul’s house in Florida.”
— Junk food? “All junk food is sooo good; you name it, I eat it.”
Do you have any pet peeves?
“I call them rules to live by, and like superstitions, how many?”
Person who had the most influence on your curling career. And why?
“My grandfather (Jim Mulliss) introduced Peter Corner and me to the game, and Russ Howard took a chance on two young kids from the city and taught us all about the game on and off the ice.”
First thing on your Bucket List?
“Back to my dinner party — a week or month on a 180-foot yacht with my family and friends cruising the Mediterranean.”
Favourite pastime between draws at cashspiels?
“I am a professional sleeper, so napping is a given. Graeme McCarrel and I once roomed together in Switzerland and he watched me go to sleep Monday at 6 a.m. and wake up Tuesday at 7 a.m., (25 hours with no bathroom breaks). Not sure what we were up to in the days leading up to this.”
Mixed doubles in the Olympics – thumbs up? Thumbs down? And why?
“Thumbs down. As soon as they have mixed doubles hockey, then we can give it a try in curling.”
One thing most people don’t know about you?
“I developed my own fitness/weight-loss program to prepare for curling with Team Glenn Howard. I’ve lost 14 pounds this summer and friends everywhere have now bought into my life philosophy for continued health: Eat Less, Move More.”
Your ideal shot to win an Olympic gold medal:
“I’m just going to hold the broom for it, but if I’m looking down to the other end and Glenn Howard is throwing the shot, it will be made; oh yes, it will be made.”