A lot happened in the curling world during the summer.
Most significant, albeit expected, was the announcement of mixed doubles being declared an Olympic sport debuting in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It remains confounding to me it reached this status with hardly any foothold in our country. Scotch doubles, a similar variant that can be played with any gender, has cropped up in some clubs as a once a year competition, but season-long doubles leagues? None that I knew of although I am sure there were a few.
European countries apparently love it as does the World Curling Federation. With men's and women's four-person teams already competing, the federation couldn't "sell" another four person curling team event to the Olympic committee. But mixed doubles was welcome.
Oakville introduced mixed doubles for its summer league which was a success with 16 teams entered.
Locally, Ayr Curling Club ran a doubles league last season which has also done well.
With it being announced as an Olympic discipline, you can only believe more leagues will crop up but apparently there's no hurry.
The 2013 Canadian mixed champ Cory Heggestad thinks that will change.
"Now that it is an Olympic event, I am guessing you will see a huge increase in the naysayers playing the sport," Heggestad said. "I know we will be. Any sliver of hope to go to an Olympics is an opportunity worth investing in."
Oddly, mixed fours never had a world championship until this year. Strange that the federation finally agreed to having a world mixed after several years of world mixed doubles. Which Canada has never won by the way.
There were 36 teams at the inaugural world mixed fours. Norway won the event held in Berne, Switzerland with Sweden picking up silver and China the bronze.
"My personal feeling is that the four person mixed reflects more what the game is about," Heggestad said.
A huge supporter of the original mixed fours is K-W Granite's Peter Mellor, who has made multiple provincials including a team made up of his entire family.
Mixed doubles teams obviously require less depth.
"I think if you look at who has won this event in the past, it shows that having a successful past in team curling is of little value to this game," Mellor said. "I am sure that is why this sport is attractive to the Olympic organizers as it gives a lot of countries the opportunity to win a medal, and means more interest to the Olympic Games and the organizers."
Time will tell if it gathers interest at the grassroots level. It is heartening to see the federation recognize the mixed fours with the inaugural worlds. Maybe there's an Olympics future there as well.
K-W Granite Club is host to the Travelers Curling Club provincial championships Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
Region 3 playdowns for the event were held at Guelph Curling Club last weekend with home club rep Tina Mazerolle winning a provincial spot. In men's, it was K-W Granite's Brett Mellor along with Dundas Granite's Ian Robertson earning two available spots. There are 10 men's and 10 women's teams competing. The winner goes on to the nationals in Ottawa in late November.