Wayne March is surprised to find a crowd of people outside the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre, there to celebrate and thank him, Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Wayne March is surprised to find a crowd of people outside the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre, there to celebrate and thank him, Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

VIDEO: Community offers surprise send off to Sicamous arena manager Wayne March

Former Sicamous Eagles general manager also managed rec centre for 13 years

“I’m not good with surprises,” said Wayne March, his smile suggesting he was OK with this one.

At 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 10, March stepped outside the doors to the Sicamous and District Recreation Centre and found, to his surprise, a large gathering of friends applauding and calling his name. They were there to celebrate and thank March as his last week as the rec centre’s manager came to a close.

“I’m not much for speeches but what I’ve got to say is, for the last 13 years it’s been awesome working with all of you,” March told the crowd. “I’ll leave here with good memories, thankful, so I want to thank everybody for coming out, I didn’t realize this was happening.”

Salmon Arm Minor Hockey administrator, former Parkview Elementary principal and friend, Roy Sakaki, provided a lighthearted presentation to March, showing his gratitude while poking a little fun. For March’s retirement, Sakaki offered him a single crutch to lean on, an old hockey stick to get back into hockey with and some other novelty items.

“I know Wayne’s heart is with Sicamous and the Eagles, and I know Wayne is coming to Salmon Arm, and our vice-president Mark (Delleman) thought we’d give you something to cheer when you’re in Salmon Arm,” said Sakaki, as Delleman presented March with a Salmon Arm Silverbacks jersey.

“You owe me 20 bucks for that,” joked Sakaki.

Salmon Arm Minor Hockey’s Mark Delleman and Roy Sakaki present Wayne March with a Salmon Arm Silverbacks jersey during a surprise gathering for March on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm Minor Hockey’s Mark Delleman and Roy Sakaki present Wayne March with a Salmon Arm Silverbacks jersey during a surprise gathering for March on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

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After the speeches, others in the crowd offered March handshakes, hugs, cards and words of appreciation.

“It’s been a good run, I’ve enjoyed my 13 years here. I think we’ve done a lot for the arena and for hockey here,” said March.

March was the general manager of the Sicamous Eagles for 26 years, and had been involved with the rec centre’s operation in one capacity or another over that time. In April 2021, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, which owns the arena property, announced that Nustadia Recreation Inc. would be taking over management of the recreation facility.

March recently moved to Salmon Arm with his partner Mary Rollier. He said he might volunteer with the Silverbacks, but otherwise was looking forward to getting outdoors and going fishing with Rollier.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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