Family pride offers different perspective on Hall of Fame awards
by Randy Pascal
Athletes, coaches and administrators alike were quick to share their elation last Wednesday as the Sudbury Sports Hall of Fame Dinner doled out
the hardware for the eleven different awards that are presented annually, along with a newly incorporated honour.
Still, it was a uniquely different perspective offered by the family of certain winners, with at least a couple of recipients kept busy in faraway places,
nowhere near the festivities
of the Caruso Club last week.
World Cup para-nordic skier Collin Cameron was attending a week-long team training session in Bend (Oregon) with the balance of the
Canadian national team when he was named as Elite Athlete of the Year.
Celebrating her one year anniversary with her husband back in early May, Marley Cameron had no trouble identifying a few key traits that
helped Collin prevail in a category blessed with an abundance of talent and skill.
"His determination," she responded without hesitation. "He is the most determined person that I have ever met. That is one of the things that inspires me
the most, it made me fall in love with him. It doesn't matter what he wants to do, he'll set his mind to it and he will achieve it. I think it will continue
to contribute to his progression as an athlete."
Despite this trait, Cameron was not at all convinced that, at the end of the evening, this award would be his. "I don't think he's going to believe me,"
laughed Marley. "He was up against some amazing athletes." (Paralympic rower and medal winner Curtis Halladay and two-time Canadian cross-country
champion Ross Proudfoot).
"He didn't think that he had achieved as much as the other athletes, so I think he'll be pretty shocked to hear the news." Working hard towards earning
a berth on the team that will represent this country at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea next March, Cameron would
break through yet another key threshold on his road to success should he crack the roster.
"The 2018 Paralympics would be a big learning curve for him," noted his spouse. "He would get a chance to get his toes wet and dip into the Olympic pool.
He would love to win another medal, an Olympic medal, but I think his focus is learning. More realistically, he's hoping to medal in the next Olympics
While Cameron was clear across the continent last week, Amateur Female Athlete of the Year Jenna Hellstrom managed one better, having left for
Sweden just a few days earlier to pursue her career in professional soccer, following an illustrious NCAA career with the Kent State Golden Flashes.
In her absence, Hellstrom would be represented by younger sister Karly, who will follow in her footsteps, heading to Kent State in the fall and looking
to combine her own character and skill-set with perhaps a trait or two from her older sibling.
"She's feisty, I'll give her that," said Karly with a smile. "She won't give up a fight at all. I would definitely take that, she's a little feistier
than me. I think we both work hard. I think she's always felt that coming from a small town, that hard work was a must. And she always has a smile on her face,
except for on the field."
Given the many similarities, it's no small wonder that the soon-to-be graduate of Lasalle Secondary looks at the next chapter in her sister's
soccer career with somewhat mixed feelings.
"We have trained together since day one, from the time that I took soccer seriously," said Karly. "We were every day together, in the gym, on the field,
everything we did, we did together. Her being that far away is going to be hard. It's not like I can take a trip to see her on a weekend."
"But I also look at this as an opportunity for her to continue soccer, and I'm going to continue with my soccer at Kent State. We're both at the stage
of our life where we're ready to do the next thing. But yes, we'll have times where we are going to miss each other."
Rounding out the list of award winners were:
Import Athlete of the Year
Kadre Gray - Laurentian Voyageurs men's basketball
Professional Athlete of the Year
Nick Foligno - Columbus Blue Jackets
Amateur Male Athlete of the Year
Connor Vande Weghe - Laurentian Voyageurs men's soccer
Coach of the Year
Patti Kitler - Para-Nordic skiing
Team of the Year
Krysta Burns rink - Laurentian Voyageurs women's curling
Megan Smith, Sara Guy, Laura Masters, Ryan Lafraniere (coach)
Bill Roman Administration Award
Marisue James - Sudbury Playground Hockey League
Sudbury Youth Basketball League
High School Female Athlete of the Year
Allison Byrnes - Marymount Regals (soccer, track, flag football)
High School Male Athlete of the Year
Dylan Terris - Lasalle Lancers (volleyball, basketball)
High School Team of the Year
Lo-Ellen Park Knights nordic ski team
Team of the Decade
Marymoutn Regals flag football
Hall of Fame inductees for the Class of 2017 included Bill McKetsy, Mary Waddell, Bob Rogers, Mario Anselmo, Pat Pickard, Mike Derks, Ron Didone,
Andy Barbe and the 1999-2000 Rayside-Balfour Sabrecats team.