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She's headed for Manitoba hall but stays away from slo-pitch hill

Former Smitty's ace one of nine inductees

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IT'S hard to believe that Sandy Maskiw -- a terror on the pitcher's rubber when she played fastball -- would be scared of the ball in an innocent game like coed slo-pitch.

Despite her success pitching for Smitty's, the women's team that dominated the fastball scene for a decade starting in the mid-1990s, Maskiw (formerly Newsham) stays as far away from the plate as possible these days.

"I play in the outfield," she said after being introduced Tuesday as one of the nine 2012 inductees -- five athletes, two builders and two teams -- to the Manitoba Sport Hall of Fame. "There is no way I'm going to pitch in slo-pitch. In fastball, you have control on whether people hit it or not. In slo-pitch, everybody hits the ball.

"I don't want it coming back at me."

Joining Maskiw in the Class of 2012 are former NHL goaltender Ed Belfour, former CFL player Harry Langford, five-time Olympic speedskater Michael Ireland, sailing's Kelly Hand, longtime Manitoba High School Athletics Association executive director Morris Glimcher, U.S. college hockey coach Grant Standbrook, the Winnipeg Wesmen women's basketball team (1992-95) and the Manitoba Bisons men's volleyball team (1978 and 1980).

All will be officially inducted at a dinner later this year. Belfour and Hand were actually nominated in 2011, but couldn't make the ceremony for their formal inclusion.

Getting the call to the hall often brings back a flood of memories, something Maskiw, now 38 and a mother of two, referenced during her chat with members of the media Tuesday.

"Everybody is going to say the Olympics," said Maskiw, a member of the Canadian softball team in Sydney (2000). "But when I really look back, it's things like the Canada Games in '89 in Saskatoon, Pan Am Games, just because it was in Winnipeg... and high school provincials for volleyball. Winning high school provincials is probably what really stands out for me."

Pam Danis, the current Bisons women's basketball head coach, was a member of the three-time CIAU (now CIS) champion Wesmen women's basketball team that rattled off 88 straight wins to tie a North American college record set by the UCLA Bruins men's basketball team 20 years earlier.

She took the memories of her role in Manitoba sports history a step further. That Wesmen juggernaut not only brought national and international attention to Winnipeg, it also helped promote women's athletics in the province.

"It's amazing how far women's sport has come in the last 20 years," said Danis, who went by Pam Flick back in those days. "When I think of the opportunities my daughter has right now, those weren't available to me when I was a kid. When we were going through the streak, I remember the amount of media attention we received. That was unheard of at the time.

"It's really an honour for me to have been a part of that movement. To see how far it's come, it's an incredible feeling."

The nine inductees are expected to be in Winnipeg for the 33rd annual induction ceremony, which goes Saturday, Nov. 3 at the Victoria Inn. Visit the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame website ( for more information.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 6, 2012 C4

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