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Middaugh not returning; Howard adds Hart, Mead

Wayne Middaugh is walking away from competitive curling.

Speculation swirled after it was announced last week that Middaugh would not be returning to Glenn Howard’s team next season and he told the Midland Mirror on Tuesday it wasn’t an easy decision to take a step back from the game but it will help his wife Sherry pursue her own goals.

“It was all about where my life is and what I want going forward for me and my family,” he said. “It’s time for me now to give some of that time to my family. With me more at home now, it’ll give Sherry more of a chance to play and chase her curling dreams.”

Middaugh, from Brampton, Ont., is a three-time Brier and world champion. He sits third on the all-time Grand Slam of Curling wins list with 14 title victories and is one of only four skips to earn a career Grand Slam.

The 46-year-old Middaugh isn’t hanging up the broom for good and will continue to play Major Curling League in Penetanguishene, Ont., during the winter as well as charity events.

Middaugh and Howard, along with Brent Laing and Craig Savill, wrapped up their season on Friday after missing the playoffs at the Players’ Championship in Summerside, P.E.I. The team captured two Grand Slam titles in 2013-14. Overall, they won six of 12 Slam events over the past three seasons.

Howard and Savill will stick together — Laing heads west to join Calgary’s Kevin Koe — and the duo will be play next season with Jon Mead (former third for Winnipeg’s Jeff Stoughton) and Richard Hart (Howard’s previous vice skip who had retired in 2011).