Walleye forward Adam Estoclet quickly learned the true meaning of the term “time management” as a student athlete at an Ivy League university.
At this time last year Estoclet (pronounced EHST-oh-clay) was hitting the books hard as a senior at Dartmouth College. He juggled the mental demands of a challenging curriculum with the physically demands of being a college hockey player.
ON THE HOOK
with Adam Estoclet
Jersey Number: 25
Ht./Wt: 6-1, 190
Hometown: Orono, Minn.
Born: March 24, 1989
Favorite way to spend time away from the rink: Going to the movie theater. I like "chick flicks." Reading.
Hockey player you admired growing up: I wasn't a hockey fan. I love playing it. But I never liked watching an NHL game on TV.
Favorite sport to watch other than hockey: Football on TV. Baseball in person.
Favorite type of music: Country.
Favorite food: Everything. Anything. Seafood, Mexican.
Have you ever eaten walleye?: Oh yeah. It's huge on the lakes in Minnesota. We catch it, filet it, and cook it right on the lake. I love walleye cheeks. There's a lot of good meat on the cheeks.
Favorite beverage: Milk
Best fast food: Chipotle
Favorite Movie: Crazy, Stupid, Love
Favorite TV Show: Californication
If you could meet any person, dead or alive, who would it be?: Michael Jordan
Favorite place you've been to?: Lagos, Portugal
What's your hockey superstition?: I used to have so many in college. But now that I play four games in a week, I don't do them anymore. It's too much of a mental battle.
What song would you like to have played when you score a goal?: "Levels," by Avicii. It's techno. It's kind of a random song.
Something nobody knows about you: I lived in Spain for three months for a summer when I was in college. I lived in Barcelona with a buddy. We traveled everywhere. We took trains all around Spain and Europe.
-- Mark Monroe
“It was pretty difficult,” Estoclet said. “You go to school all day and then you go to practice. You’re not done until 8:30 and then you have to get on it [studying]. It’s kind of a slippery slope if you decide to play video games or turn on the TV or go out with some buddies. It wakes you up. You have to be more responsible.”
After graduating from Dartmouth with a degree in sociology modified with economics, Estoclet decided to pursue a career in professional hockey. Estoclet is off to a fast start in that endeavor in his first full pro season this year with Toledo.
The rookie is averaging nearly a point per game. Estoclet has seven goals and 13 assists. The forward is ranked fourth on the team with 20 points in 22 games.
“The biggest adjustment is the amount of games and the amount of time blocked for hockey,” Estoclet said. “I played 34 games all of last year in college. Now we are more than halfway through the season and we’ve played [42 games]. We still have 31 games left. It’s double the amount of games.”
While he played two games per weekend at the most at Dartmouth, his schedule with Toledo can include four games in five days during some weeks.
“It’s a physical and mental grind. But I still feel really excited to get to the rink,” Estoclet said.
But one unexpected bonus is the amount of free time Estoclet said has suddenly been added to his schedule during the team’s off days. Aside from a daily, three-hour morning practice and workout, studying has been replaced with reading for pleasure, and watching movies.
“Some days I sit around and wonder what’s going on,” he said. “Sometimes it’s hard finding something to do. Now I’ve taken up reading and I’ve become addicted to books. I love going to the movies. You can’t argue with only having to work three hours a day.”
Estoclet, a native of Orono, Minn., said when he first got to Dartmouth he was overwhelmed.
“The first few terms were really hard,” Estoclet said. “I was really clueless on the whole situation. I had to figure it out by talking to people. I learned how to do the things the right way, like how to write papers. I had it down by the time I graduated. I’m pretty proud I was able to graduate with all the other people there.”
Estoclet said after his hockey career is finished he wants “to do something in business.”
He also sharpened his skills on the ice at Dartmouth, appearing in 127 games. He scored 39 goals and had 65 assists. He was the team’s second leading scorer as a senior with 16 goals and 13 assists.
After graduating, Estoclet played seven games for Providence of the American Hockey League at the tail end of last season. He had two assists with the Bruins.
“I didn’t get to play much. I played on the fourth line,” Estoclet said. “But it helped coming into this season. I didn’t get completely blindsided. I felt good.”
Estoclet leads the team in plus-minus rating with a plus-11. The rookie started the season out once again in the AHL this time after making the team in Grand Rapids, Toledo’s Triple-A affiliate.
He was reassigned to the Walleye on Nov. 1 and was called back to Grand Rapids on Nov. 28. He was sent back to Toledo on Jan. 10.
“It’s pretty crazy. You have no clue when you’re going up or down,” Estoclet said. “It can be frustrating. You finally get unpacked and settled in and then you’re gone.”
While Estoclet said he is “excited” when he is called up, he also knows it means his ice time will go down.
“When I’ve gone up to Grand Rapids, I’ve only been playing about five minutes per game,” he said. “I think I’d rather be here right now. Down here I’ve gotten the chance to prove myself and then I don’t get the chance up there. I guess I just have to wait.”
Estoclet said he also has been frustrated with the Walleye (17-22-3) being stuck in last place in the ECHL North Division. Toledo has lost two in a row and are in 11th place out of 12 teams in the Eastern Conference.
“Consistency has been an issue,” Estoclet said. “You can’t pinpoint one thing. Everyone wants to battle.”
Yet the Walleye lead the ECHL with an average crowd of 5,826 per game. On Saturday, Toledo had a standing-room only crowd of 8,200 for its fifth sell-out of the season.
“The fan base here is amazing,” Estoclet said. “There will be 8,000 fans there and most of them are in Walleye gear. You go all around town and see all this Walleye stuff. It’s unbelievable.”
TRADE COMPLETE: The Walleye sent forward Aaron Lewicki and defenseman Ryan Blair to Reading on Tuesday to complete a trade made with the Royals on Sunday.
Toledo acquired forward Todd Griffith in the transaction. Griffith, 27, appeared in 14 games with Reading this season, and scored five goals to go along with three assists.
Griffith had a team-high six shots on goal in his Walleye debut on Sunday, a 5-2 loss to Wheeling.
Lewicki collected 16 points (nine goals and seven assists) in 38 games this year with Toledo. Blair had one goal and two assists in 28 games with Toledo.
Also Tuesday, forward Paul Zanette was reassigned to the Walleye from Rockford.
In 13 games with Toledo, Zanette has six points (three goals, three assists). The winger missed 23 games earlier this season due to an injury.
ALL-STAR GAME OFF: No ECHL All-Star game was held this year because none of the 20 teams put in a bid to host the game.
The logistics and high cost of hosting the event were the main impediments, according to Walleye officials.
In lieu of the all-star game, the ECHL is giving fans the opportunity to select their own 2011-12 “Fantasy Team.”
The two players from each team that receive the most votes will wear special “Silver Skater” jerseys during a selected home game. Voting is open through Feb. 5. For more info go to echl.com.
Contact Mark Monroe at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-724-6354 or on Twitter @MonroeBlade.