Eight new inductees have officially been welcomed into the Delta Sports Hall of Fame.
The eighth annual Hall of Fame banquet of champions attracted another sellout at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn for an evening of celebrating excellence and contributions to sports in Delta.
The Sports Champions awards, reflecting accomplishments in the past year, were also recognized. The Optimist will take a look at those winners in Friday's edition.
Here is a brief rundown of the eight hall of fame inductees:
ATHLETES DEAN BAUCK (TRACK AND FIELD)
This Ladner native was a dominant player on the basketball court with a successful team at Delta secondary but it was during the track and field season in the high jump pit where Bauck established himself as one of the best in the country. A short time after winning gold at the B.C. High School Championships, he became a carded athlete and was a member of Canada's junior and national teams. His international career highlights included winning a meet ahead of 1976 Olympic gold medalist Jacek Wzola (Poland) and silver medalist Greg Joy (Canada) An injury prevented him from competing in the '76 Summer Games in Montreal and the boycott in 1980 kept him out of Moscow in 1980. His career best of 2.19 metres helped earned him the prestigious Cal D Bricker Memorial Trophy as Canada's top high jumper.
Bauck retired from track and field in the early 1980s and resumed his basketball career as an accomplished masters player, winning two bronze medals at the World Masters Games.
BYRON RITCHIE (ICE HOCKEY)
A scoring wizard growing up through the North Delta Minor Hockey Association, Ritchie would go on to thrive at all levels of the game.
After having a leading role in North Delta winning the Western Canadian Bantam championship, Ritchie earned a spot with the Lethbridge Hurricanes where he would go on to enjoy a dynamic career in the Western Hockey League. He was a WHL all-star and a first team all-star selection at the Memorial Cup. He was drafted by the Hartford Whalers and began his career in the American Hockey League before being called up by the Carolina Hurricanes in 1998. He later made stops in Florida, Calgary and Vancouver. At 35, Ritchie is now playing in Europe, spending this past season with Berne of the Swiss Elite League.
PIONEER GEORGE KOKA (BASEBALL/SOFTBALL/SOCCER)
A name synonymous with amateur sports in South Delta, George Koka did it all. For years he worked as an umpire, in the infancy stages of the Ladner Minor Baseball Association and then at the elite junior level when the Delta Dodgers were launched. He also found the time to coach his son's baseball team and both his daughters' softball teams. Despite a sabbatical from sports to battle Hodgkin's Disease, Koka was front and centre with the Ladner Men's Fastball League, serving as president for over a decade until his cancer returned and he conquered it yet again. He has remained instrumental in running the popular May Days fastball tourney and had a leading role in park improvements at Hawthorne, Dugald Morrison and Ladner elementary.
COACHES MIKE PISTOR (BASEBALL)
This North Delta native was simply the heart and soul of one of the most successful franchises of all-time in the B.C. Junior Baseball League.
Having followed his father's footsteps, Pistor took over the coaching reigns in 1988 and enjoyed a remarkable 16-year run at the helm. His teams captured eight regular season championships, four provincial titles and were three-time medalists at nationals. He brought a love for the game through a self-respecting and hardworking approach. He also was known for his technical knowledge and strong teaching skills.
AL NAGATA (SOFTBALL/ICE HOCKEY)
One of the original coaches of the Delta Heat rep "A" girls fast pitch association. Nagata enjoyed an outstanding 11-year run that saw his teams annually place in the top three at provincials and twice capture silver medals at nationals.
Many of his former players went on to play at the university level on scholarships.
After an impressive run working with a group in Surrey, Nagata returned to Delta to coach the '93 Sunfire in 2005. He made a lasting impression on that team in just two months before sadly passing away.
Nagata also had success in the hockey rink coaching his son's team for seven seasons. In total, he volunteered as coach for nearly 30 years - 1977-2005.
BUILDER BETTY BOYD (CURLING)
One of the founding members of the Delta Thistle Curling Club, Boyd served on the executive for 25 years. She organized the club's first senior ladies bonspiel and chaired the event for over a decade. Boyd continues to curl at the club and volunteers as an instructor with the junior program.
TEAM 1990 DELTA HEAT (SOFTBALL)
The summer of 2004 is one this group of outstanding athletes and head coach Gord Collings will never forget.
After losing the provincial final on a coin toss, of all things, due to darkness, the Heat rep "A" girls fastpitch team had a chance for redemption at the Pee Wee National Championships in Ontario. That's where it would once again clash with the Surrey Storm in the gold medal game. This time there would be no controversial finish as the Heat capped an amazing seven game unbeaten run with a 2-0 victory over their rivals.
SPONSOR STEVE KRAWCHUK (MCDONALD'S)
Whether it be local teams, tournaments or events, Steve Krawchuk and his Ladner and Tsawwassen McDonald's franchises can always be counted on for their support. McDonald's has been the title sponsor of the Delta Invitational gymnastics meet for the last 20 years and it hardly stops there. Lacrosse, baseball, minor hockey, Delta Ringette, Ladner Stingrays, the Delta Ice Hawks and South Delta Sun Devils football teams are just some of the other organizations and teams that have received support.
Krawchuk also has been active in the South Delta community as a volunteer coach.