CURLING folklore has it that world champion curler Hammy McMillan was once banned from participating in a tournament run by his father because he was too successful. Beating the paying guests to the prize of a cruise in a competition run to help entice visitors to book into the family’s Northwest Castle Hotel in low-season was not, apparently, considered good business.

These days he co-owns the Stranraer establishment while, in the other family business, his son, also Hammy, is now making a significant name for himself, albeit as lead rather than skip of the current national champion rink, Team Brewster, which will represent Scotland at the forthcoming European Championships on home ice.

The 24-year-old chirpily reports that he can count on regular supportive texts or phone calls from the old man after most games. However Hammy sr holds back on the advice in recognising, a little grudgingly perhaps, that the sport is very different to how it was as recently as 14 years ago when he skipped the British men’s team at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City where Rhona Martin delivered her "stone of destiny".

“He can’t believe the amount of time I’ll spend on ice, or in the gym etc,” Hammy jr said of his father’s take on the professionalisation of the sport.

“The social aspect of the game is still there, but nowadays we play our games, we de-brief, we go away. [Having a few beers] is unprofessional. He still thinks the game should potentially have that aspect, but he understands it’s moved on and become professional. It’s taken a while to get curling to that stage, but it’s definitely getting there and it’s where we all want it to be.

“It’s the same when I speak to Kyle Smith [skip of a rival rink and the son of another Scottish world champion skip]. His dad and mine have that many stories they tell from back in the day. Kyle and I don’t have that many stories, but that’s the way it was, whereas we make our own fun and we wouldn’t do it otherwise.”

That reflects the personality of a player who takes the game seriously, but is rarely without a smile for long, even in the most tense competitive situations. Indeed, another aspect of how the sport is changing is the personality testing that has merely confirmed what McMillan already knew about himself.

“I always have a positive outlook on things,” he said. “We’ve worked with psychologists and I’m very much the out-going, fun, loud person I’d like to think. For me it’s all about that. If I’m not enjoying myself on the ice then what’s the point in being there.”

His is not the only curling dynasty represented in the home challenge. Skip Tom Brewster’s mother Cate is among the domestic game’s leading coaches, while their third, Glen Muirhead, is the older brother of Eve, who skips the host nation’s women’s team at Braehead and their father Gordon was the alternate on Hammy sr’s world championship winning rink in 1999.

Those deep roots in the curling community and the wide geographic spread from which they are drawn suggests they should be well supported at Braehead, with the involvement of their fourth team member Ross Paterson potentially drawing in a fair share of locals.

“I’d like to think we’ll have support from all over the country, this being a home Europeans with us all bringing people from different areas,” said McMillan.

“Hopefully there will be a lot of family coming up from Stranraer and Tom will have them coming down from Aberdeen, Glen from Perthshire and Ross from Glasgow.”

The championships get underway at Braehead next weekend and continue until November 26.