New West women’s softball team inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame

Doc’s Blues 1978 team honoured: players recall good times on the field and off.

There were plenty of smiles and hugs to go around Wednesday night (Sept. 24) when New Westminster’s 1978 Doc’s Blues Women’s Softball team was honoured as inductees into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame for 2014, in the team category. 

“This is great being with all my team again,” said Diane Materi, who played left field for the 1978 team.

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“It is really a great recognition,” she said.

Several of the former players, managers and their family members attended the plaque unveiling, held in the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame at B.C. Place Stadium.

“I think this is a dream everybody has, if you were able to get there some day, this is an absolute dream,” said Debbie Duke, who was the team’s catcher.

“We started off as a team where there were a few seasons that were a little hard and we were very persistent and we were not giving up. We went to the 1974 worlds [in Stratford Connecticut] and we didn’t do that well there and we said we are coming back … and that is why we are here today,” she said.

After placing seventh in '74, they did indeed come back, and win. The New West women were silver medalists at the 1978 Women’s World Softball Championship, held in El Salvador (they lost to the United States in the final game).

They are also the only Canadian women’s team to ever finish in the top two at the world championships.

In the ’78 season the Blues’ had 113 wins, 16 losses and two ties.

The team was a sisterhood of sorts, and the players had as much fun off the field as on, according to some of the players on hand at the unveiling.

“We just played for each other,” said Ann MacLeod, who was the team’s shortstop and married the team’s assistant coach, Alistair MacLeod, who passed away in 2012.

“We raised money to go places and Janice [Robinson, the team’s first base] made up songs and we sang songs and we went up the middle of New Zealand singing songs and getting billeted, and those are things people don’t get to experience anymore,” said MacLeod, while giving Robinson a hug.

“When we come together we are just really good friends and we really just like each other.”

The team was also inducted into the Softball British Columbia Hall of Fame in 1990.

Doc’s Blues 1978 team members were: Donna Blackstock, Eileen Costello, Heather Cranston, Michelle Desaulniers, Debbie Duke, Rosemary Fuller, Adrian Lavigne (manager and coach), Dr. J. Ross MacLean (sponsor), Alistair MacLeod (assistant coach), Ann MacLeod, Patti McGuire, Diane Materi, Joanne Mick, Sandra Nerreter, Janice Robinson, Liz Wood, Norma Wood, Stan Yip (business manager).

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