Baseball was a central part of Will Smith’s life.
“He was very involved with the game,” said Kelly Parker, the president of North Langley Diamond Sports.
“Will was a true Little Leaguer.”
Smith passed away at age 47 on Feb. 10, after a two-month battle with pancreatic cancer.
And two weeks ago (April 19-21), North Langley Diamond Sports held the first annual Will Smith Memorial baseball tournament, an icebreaker tournament for eight-year-olds.
The tournament was a celebration of all that Will embodied: competitiveness, sportsmanship, teamwork and fair play.
Smith played his youth baseball with Whalley and made it to the Little League World Series three times as a player, in 1978, 1981 and 1984.
North Langley already had the icebreaker tournament on the schedule, but when Williams passed away, Parker said it was an easy decision to rename it after such a dedicated coach and volunteer.
Smith had been an executive with NLDS for about six years, and also coached.
“He was very dedicated to the game,” Parker said. “He lived baseball, this was his thing.”
He was described as having a larger than life persona who loved the game.
“Will’s dedication to the community was evident through all his years of coaching both boys and girls baseball,” said the online tribute to Smith on the North Langley baseball website.
“Will strived to win but placed great value on not only players who possessed skill, but players who possessed heart.
“Will’s dedication to all that he did will be evident in the years to come by the players he coached throughout their baseball career.”
He is survived by his wife Cathy, and their teenage children, daughter Devyn and son Logan.