Catching up with Adam Estoclet
by Heather Croze

 


When Bob Gaudet welcomed eight freshmen to the Dartmouth hockey program four years ago, he believed they could grow into something special.

As each found their place in Dartmouth's program, they matured and stuck together through thick and thin, giving the Big Green a serious chance at an NCAA run in 2010-11, their senior season.

The No. 16-ranked Big Green has four games left as Gaudet now has depth and experience at every spot on the ice and much of that can be attributed to the 18 upperclassmen that make up most of Dartmouth's line chart.

The Big Green's nucleus of nine seniors allows Gaudet the luxury of knowing exactly what he has to work with. Adam Estoclet, Scott Fleming and Matt Reber anchor Dartmouth's offense combining for 61 points this season.

Estoclet has tallied 93 points in his career and has been a member of the Big Green's top line. He, Reber and Fleming have been paired together for three of the four years they've played in Hanover and Estoclet knows how important that is.

"A lot of classes start out large but taper off as their senior year approaches," Estoclet said. "It says a lot for our class that we all stuck it out. We're very competitive with each other and that pushed us all for four years. We are very close and pushing each other has helped with our success this season."

Gaudet has known all along that his veterans will not only be critical to Dartmouth's success this season, he believes they will be rewarded for their four-year efforts - especially if the Big Green's season plays out the way he thinks it can.

"They're a big part of this team," Gaudet said. "Every player wants to be part of the team, and every player wants to do it right. And so they are guys who have laid it on the line for all the right reasons, they're big players, they're leaders, and we're having the season we are because of them.

"Estoclet is a big part of that," Gaudet continued. "He's grown and matured into a player that is unselfish and is team-oriented. I've been proud to watch the way he's grown as a man and a player while here at Dartmouth."

Estoclet says that Dartmouth helped him mature because he was made to be independent so quickly.

"You don't have a choice but to grow up," Estoclet said with a laugh. "You're away from home and in my case, quite a ways away from home. But you grow up with some of the best friends you're ever going to make in your life. I was able to grow and mature with these other guys that I know I'm going to be friends with even when we go our separate ways."

Estoclet chose to make the trek to New Hampshire from his home state of Minnesota because he knew he could play right away. He was also looking at the University of Wisconsin but knew to play for the Badgers he would have to play at least a year of juniors and for Estoclet he knew he could make an immediate impact.

"I wanted to play right out of high school," Estoclet explained. "I might have been a little naïve but I knew I could play and Dartmouth fit because the coaches could also see I could play for the Big Green. I came here and saw the campus and was blown away and knew I had made the right choice."

Another benefit, Dartmouth and hockey gave Estoclet was the opportunity to travel and see the world and places that he never imagined.

"For my sophomore spring term, Stevo [Evan Stephens] and I got to go Barcelona," he said. "We had a blast and it was so nice to do that traveling together. Not only did we spend three months there but we went to Rome and visited Matt Reber and Peter Boldt.

"We were pretty lucky to do the trip to Sweden and Denmark our sophomore year as well. Hockey here at Dartmouth has really opened up my traveling experiences and I know I wouldn't have even come to Hanover if it weren't for hockey. So it's been amazing where this sport has taken me."

Estoclet is hoping that hockey will take him to even more places as like so many other players he's hoping to continue playing the sport after he leaves Hanover.

"A goal for most of us is to continue playing," Estoclet said. "You've got to have that dream. It's so inspiring to walk into Thompson Arena every day and see the photos of all those former players who have gone on to play in the National Hockey League.

"We still have a lot of hockey left in us this year and we also know that the more we play once the regular season ends, the more opportunity we give someone out there to see us play and hopefully give us that chance once we graduate."

With thoughts of extending the season further then any other Dartmouth team in recent history has done, Estoclet and his entire Big Green team have been concentrating on doing the little things necessary to win games and position themselves to get that elusive first round bye in the ECAC Hockey playoffs.

"Getting that first round bye is something our class has not experienced," Estoclet said. "We've only gotten as far as the first round since we've arrived in Hanover. We want to get the program back to where it was before we came, winning playoff games and getting to the ECAC Championship."

Estoclet with the help of linemates Fleming and Reber has racked up 19 points and is just six away from scoring 100 career points. While he said he doesn't think about things like that, he does acknowledge that an accomplishment like that is extremely special especially if he and Fleming can both accomplish it this season.

"To know that Flem and I are both close to getting 100 points is pretty cool to think about," Estoclet acknowledged. "But you can't concentrate on it because if you do then it won't happen. Scoring is streaky and it can come in bunches. We've all experienced that."

No matter how the season shapes up, Estoclet knows that coming to Dartmouth and playing hockey for the Big Green is one of the single-best experiences he will ever have. "I will never forget this time in my life and the friends I have made here. Being here at Dartmouth is truly an experience I will never forget."