Castlegar resident Cheryl Closkey (centre) received Basketball BC’s Presidents Award from BBC president Stu Graham (left), and parliamentary secretary for sport Ravi Kahlon (right) at Sport BC’s Athlete of the Year Gala last week. Submitted photo

Castlegar coach receives Basketball BC honour

Cheryl Closkey recognized for 50 years of volunteering

A well known member of Castlegar’s athletic scene has received one of Basketball BC’s top honours.

Cheryl Closkey received the Basketball BC President’s Award at the 2019 Sport BC Athlete of the Year gala.

The award is given to those who represent the spirit of volunteerism, and whose dedication, energy and commitment contribute to the development of their sport in BC.

“She is the type of volunteer we like to recognize,” said Basketball BC president Lawrie Johns. “Without them, amateur sport would die a very, very quick death.”

Closkey has been involved in coaching and supporting basketball athletes and coaches for more than 50 years. She has also served on Basketball BC’s board for 19 years.

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Because Closkey has coached Castlegar’s youth for decades, many people ranging from teens to seniors look back fondly to the influence she has had on their lives.

She has coached students in grades 7 to 10, provincial teams, summer games teams, Selkirk College when it first started its basketball program and for the last 15 years, the Steve Nash program. She has also coached softball.

Closkey was hesitant to let people publicize her honour — not wanting the focus put on her. She would rather emphasize the good of sport and those she has worked with.

“My recognition for the 51 years with Basketball BC reflects my impact on a lot of kids in the East and West Kootenay,” said Closkey.

Closkey estimates she has coached between 1,500 and 2,000 local kids.

“The important thing to me is that all those kids benefited,” she said. “It’s not about what I did, but the benefits they got.”

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