Adam Lavelle was the first men's hockey player at Hobart College to earn All-American honors.
But more than a decade later, the 34-year-old Lavelle treasures the ECAC West title the Statesmen captured during that 2003-04 season, his junior year in Geneva, N.Y., more than the individual honor for his stellar play in goal.
"I'd take another ECAC championship over the All-American thing," said Lavelle, who was a second team Division 3 pick.
"The whole atmosphere around that championship was way more memorable than being an All-American. We won our last seven or eight games and got the first seed and hosted the tournament. The capacity at the rink at the time was about 1,000. There must have been about 2,500 people there The whole school stopped what it was doing and came out. That was a really great time."
Hobart went on to earn it first bid to the NCAA Division 3 tournament.
It was the start of good hockey times at Hobart, where Mark Taylor, a former assistant at UMass Lowell, had taken over as head coach in July, 2000. Lavelle and his classmates were the coach's first class of recruits. Taylor, now in his 16th season, orchestrated a turnaround and Hobart now is a perennial power. (The 10-2-2 Statesmen are currently ranked third in Division 3).
Lavelle played one season at Lawrence Academy in Groton, three years at Chelmsford High and then did a post-grad year at Bridgton Academy in Maine.
In high school, beating rival Billerica for the Merrimack Valley Conference junior year was a highlight.
"It came down to one last game and we had to beat them at their place and we ended up winning," Lavelle said. "That was pretty cool."
Lavelle appreciates the lessons taught by coaches Jack Fletcher at Chelmsford and Taylor at Hobart.
"One of the things instilled by all my coaches was you can't do anything by yourself," Lavelle said.
"Everything is like a team sport and you have to get along. They're life values. You're going to have ups and downs and you've got to deal with them. If nothing else, you've got to come to work with your lunch pail. Life can be a grind and you've got to show up and have a positive attitude and I think the rest will fall into place."
A groin injury early in his senior season ended his college career prematurely.
He returned home and joined the family business, Lavelle Machine, in Westford. He is vice president for a machine shop that employs 37 and manufactures medical components such as bone screws and biopsy guns.
His 59-year-old father, Ed, is company president. Father and son teamed up for a triathlon challenge last year. They trained together for 11 months and competed in a couple of half Ironman events on the way to completing their first Ironman triathlon in Panama City, Fla., in November.
"We see each other every day," Adam said. "But that was something cool to do together outside of work."
Lavelle and Tracey, his wife of six years, live in Chelmsford with their daughters Delaney, 8, Emerson, 5, and Charlotte, 3.
Allens Lessels can be reached at email@example.com.