Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association (SAMHA) administrator Roy Sakaki 
recognized SAMHA volunteers Cindy Cameron-Cherry and James Inglis as 
hometown heroes. (Contributed)

Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association (SAMHA) administrator Roy Sakaki recognized SAMHA volunteers Cindy Cameron-Cherry and James Inglis as hometown heroes. (Contributed)

Hometown heroes: Cindy Cameron-Cherry and James Inglis step up for Salmon Arm Minor Hockey

Duo recognized for volunteer work with minor hockey association

By Barb Brouwer


Recipient of Salmon Arm Minor Hockey’s 2022 President’s Award, Cindy Cameron-Cherry is “a gift from hockey heaven,” said Roy Sakaki, who nominated two volunteers for a Hometown Heroes Award.

“And this year, SAMHA has honoured James Inglis as the 2021-22 Volunteer of the Year.”

Assuming three roles this season, Cameron-Cherry was manager of the U13 division, team manager of the U13 Tier 2 rep team and chaired the U13 Tier 2 Provincial Champions held during spring break.

“She is a diehard hockey mom and volunteer, making endless trips from her home in Blind Bay to Shaw Centre, some say three times a day,” wrote Sakaki, SAMHA administrator. “Over the past three years, the work she has done to keep the youngsters on the ice despite Covid restrictions was incredible.”

From her perspective, Cameron-Cherry stresses the importance of getting youths involved in sports, something she says wouldn’t be possible without volunteers.

“We can never forget how important it is to have kids in sports and I’m happy to help with that,” she said, noting that it’s important to make sure the experience is enjoyable for everyone, particularly in hockey which can be intense.

“One of my favourite jobs is being team manager. I want to make sure the kids are happy and have fun, and coaches don’t have to worry about anything other than on-ice issues.”

Cameron-Cherry engaged in meetings with the BC Hockey League from November to March to make sure the tournament was organized properly.

“I wouldn’t have had the success I had, especially with the provincial tournament, without Roy’s guidance and the help of my committee members,” she said, pointing out, SAMHA made a profit, which will be used to help local hockey families.

“Inglis arrived on the Salmon Arm minor hockey scene five years ago and in his first year of coaching in our association, captured the U13 District Recreation championship in Clearwater,” noted Sakaki. “During Rogers Hometown Hockey weekend, his wife Angela and he must have flipped over 1,000 burgers as they both volunteered their services all weekend.”

This year, Inglis not only coached the Salmon Arm U15 Tier 2 rep team, but stepped into the president’s shoes, offering valuable management and business skills, Sakaki said.

“Dealing with frontline issues as such as COVID protocol, coaching matters and player and parent concerns, James has dealt with these head on.”

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President of Blind Bay Village Grocers and the Lighthouse Market, the Blind Bay resident said he volunteers for two reasons.

“I think everyone should have a sense of community pride, give back and help shape the future of youths,” he said, pointing out that youth sports were a huge part of his life growing up in a small town and he wants to make sure children in the Shuswap area are afforded the same opportunities.

Inglis called local groups the best he and Angela have ever been associated with, including those of the skating club where is wife is vice-president.

“It takes many hands to make this happen,” he said, praising Sakaki for his involvement and legacy. “I do like to say step up or shut up, and more people in Salmon Arm step up.”

Inglis said COVID was tough, with everyone going into their own little shells just to survive.

“It (sport) let them escape for one to four hours a week and have huge smiles on their faces. It’s what you’re supposed to do as a child.”
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