With Ducky’s persistence, Darwin Lakoduk develops his game at AIC

Photo Credit: Kelly Shea-AIC Athletics

Darwin Lakoduk’s most commonly used nickname by his teammates at AIC is Ducky. The reason for that does not have anything to do with the NCIS character, Dr. Donald Mallard, given the nickname of Ducky. Lakoduk was asked what nickname he prefers and he told the staff Ducky, so it is the main one he is called. There is a common trait both of them share in what they do, and in their desire to consistently improve.

Like Dr. Mallard, Lakoduk plays his game with a persistence and desire to improve. Both work to get better in their fields through development and effort, and thanks to Lakoduk’s choice to take a flight of faith to AIC midway through last season, that development and persitence is starting to pay off. He came to AIC halfway through last year as the BCHL season was in flux due to the pandemic. As Lakoduk said “ Obviously with the uncertainty of my season.. I just thought it would be a good opportunity to develop my game for the following seasons.” Head Coach Eric Lang said of Lakoduk regarding his eligibility and of Lakoduk himself, “he does get the 5th year. He’s a wonderful coachable kid. He’s going to be a terrific player in this league. With the uncertainty of BCHL last year we simply said come here and let us develop you. It has paid big dividends.”

As for the program itself, Lakoduk appriciates how close knit it is, and how team first everything is. As he said “the way the whole program is ran.. we’re run like an NHL team here.” He appriciates what the coaching staff does in honing on improving details on and off the ice. Lang and his staff do their best to focus on everyone in the AIC Family, the group cares about their players’ well being as people and students just as much if not more than what they see on the ice. Lakoduk appriciates the details that Lang and his staff take pride in, and those details show themselves on the ice and in the classroom every day. As Lakoduk said of Lang ” he truly cares about his players.”

This summer preceding his growth in playing time, Lakoduk worked on adding more muscle and overall strength as part of his quest to get better. He tries to model his game in part after Brayden Point. Both are big power forwards that can contribute in all three zones, in a number of different ways. He also credits his time training with Justin Young over the summer in getting better and developing into a more complete player as well. Lakoduk’s energy is great for a team that rolls four lines pretty evenly, it allows his line to wear down the top skill of the other group, depending on how Lang matches lines up, and make things easier for the offense to flourish each night.

Going forward, Lakoduk is looking forward to seeing his family come to Springfield this year. They have not been able to see him play in person due to the pandemic. In addition, the forward wants to work at and perhaps own the metal fabrication shop he has worked at in summers in the Edmonton area. Although Point is who he models his game after, Lakoduk’s favorite team, the Oilers, has a player that took extra time to develop on his schedule and is now making a lot of money to play with Connor McDavid. That player is Zach Hyman. Hyman, like Lakoduk wants to be, lives around the net, plays a strong game in all three zones, and makes his team better, which is something Darwin does every single day.

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