A Laker and former H. J. Cody High School student Will Darbel has earned the prestige of a full baseball scholarship to Laurentian University. He will embark on his journey this Fall.
“I would like to thank my friends, family, all my awesome coaches, supporters, and most importantly my family for helping me achieve my goal of playing baseball at the university level,” said Darbel. “I will be bringing many Sylvan Lake memories with me including memories with my friends, my family, H.J. Cody School, teachers, and this wonderful town,” he added.
Darbel and his family relocated from Airdrie to the area of Sylvan Lake in 2014.
“We lived in Red Deer County, but I did everything through Sylvan Lake, middle school, high school, sports, working, etc. I am currently 19 years old, I attended HJ Cody School, and I graduated in 2020,” said Darbel. “I played baseball in Sylvan Lake from 2015 to 2019. When I played for Sylvan Lake, I was a catcher. If I was not playing, I was helping coach the U11, U13, U15 teams and umpiring youth games in the area,” he added.
Coach Ryan Lucas commended Darbel’s hard work and dedication over the years to achieve his goals.
“As head coach of the Sylvan Lake Mariners A team in 2017, Will Darbel came to our team as a release from our AA program that year,” said Lucas. “I knew then there was something special. Will came to practices and games with the want and desire to improve. As the season continued from league play to a provincial championship, I continued to notice a further desire in Will (Darbel) to want more,” he added.
Darbel focused on the fundamentals with one-on-one weekly training with Lucas.
“Will (Darbel) came to training weekly and put in the work. Will’s dedication was evident as I could see that he continued some of the training on his own between sessions as the improvement was undeniable. We started discussing his future plans. In these discussions, I knew I was speaking to a young man who had a great support structure at home and a young man who knew he wanted more from the game of baseball,” said Lucas.
Darbel was introduced to the sport by his father, which he soon fell in love with. His parents grabbed every opportunity to attend his games.
Dave Darbel, father of the 19-year-old said, “It’s a long way to go and it’ll be tough to have your child on the other side of the country but we’re really excited for Will (Darbel) to have this opportunity to play at a higher level of ball than he’s ever had the chance to play before. We realize it’s a tremendous opportunity for him, especially to grow his ball skills, his love of the game and to attend a really good school with an excellent ball program.”
Darbel said he relished his time living and working in the area of Sylvan Lake, and appreciates the baseball opportunities the town has to offer.
Darbel said, “I think Sylvan Lake’s baseball opportunities are amazing. They have some of the best youth coaches in the province in Ryan Lucas, Dave Pengelly, Daryl Hyde, Brett Therriault, Dave Darbel and many more. All the coaches have greatly improved my baseball and life skills as they continue to do in the young players playing baseball for Sylvan Lake.”
Darbel will be moving to Ontario in the Fall. He hopes to pursue a Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Sports Marketing or a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Finance.
“I plan to always help in any way I can with Sylvan Lake baseball, in coaching or whenever they need a hand,” said Darbel. “I am really looking forward to attending their beautiful campus as well as their state-of-the-art baseball facilities. I am very excited to meet the rest of the team and do my part to help them reach their goal of winning a university championship this fall. It is a very exciting opportunity for me and my family that I have wanted to accomplish for so long,” he added.
Lucas shared his pride in watching his student succeed.
“Will’s success is a great story for our many athletes in the Sylvan Lake area. Don’t let obstacles derail your dreams, take the disappointments and use them as motivation,” said Lucas.