Among the freshmen recruits for this year’s Montreal Carabins, an exceptional forward from Goudekerque-Branche, France approaches her inaugural season with a dual purpose. An alum of the French national team at both the U18 and Senior levels, Estelle Duvin not only looks to maintain the status of the Carabins as a national power, simultaneously, she works towards extending the legacy of elite competitors from France to don the program’s colors.
Having first appeared with France’s U18 national team as a 14 year old during the 2011-12 season, her prodigious talents landed her on the senior team as a teenaged phenomenon, testament to her potential as a building block for the future. Competing with the U18 program until her final season of eligibility in 2014-15, Duvin helped the program grow by a quantum leap.
Among her greatest moments with the French national U18 team involved a superlative 13-point performance in merely five games at the 2015 U18 Worlds, propelling France to greater heights, as it gained entry into the premier division for the IIHF U18 Women’s World Championship.
The milestone of a silver medal at the 2016 IIHF Division 1A Women’s Worlds represented an evolution in her promising career. Duvin scored twice at the event, with the first goal taking place against Norway while the second was scored against Slovakia. In reflecting on the jubilation of emerging from the event with a silver medal proudly strewn around her neck, she hopes that it shall signify the springboard towards greater glories for France,
“We have evolved over the last five seasons. Every year, we look to improve our performance at the world championships. Recently, we moved up from Division 1B to Division 1A.
In 2016, we gained the silver medal. It was a great feeling to be awarded that medal. We are proud to see that our hard work is rewarded. We have worked hard throughout the year.”
During the 2015-16 season, Duvin also became the first player from France to be part of an NCAA roster with the Maine Black Bears. Although the concerns over the admissibility of her French baccalaureate resulted in an unfortunate ineligibility to grace the ice at Alfond Arena, Duvin’s season was one where she had to shift her focus. A positive attitude, highlighted by maturity and a willingness to learn, were the elements that contributed to an opportunity to grow as a player.
“It was a good experience. Although I did not play in any matches, it was a year spent training with the team. To train with players at that level, I learned a lot and I enjoyed it. It was very good learning experience.”
Joining the Carabins in the autumn of 2016, Duvin followed in the ground breaking footsteps of other players from the French nationals that added the experience of skating for the Carabins to their hockey resumes. This season, Duvin joins fifth year player Lore Baudrit, also an assistant captain with the club, plus Emmanuelle Passard, who captured a CIS national title with the club last March.
“We are very proud. The first player from the French national team to join Les Carabins was Marion Allemoz. Further generations have followed and we are proud to represent France.
Lore Baudrit is one of the assistant captains on the team and she is a role model for sure. I have played with her for several years on the French national team.”
Having appeared in 10 games during the first half of the season, Duvin has also displayed some solid disciplined play, only serving two penalty minutes. While Duvin’s career with the Carabins remains a work in progress, there is no question that she brings a fundamentally sound game and solid skill set that are poised to transform into an integral component of the program’s offense in the following seasons. In reflecting on the transition to CIS play, Duvin has discovered its differences, eager to adapt and prove that she can compete and excel,
“I would say the biggest change is the quickness of the game. I have also noticed that the physical style of play is much more, compared to the international game.”
Making her debut with the Carabins on October 16 against cross-town opponent Concordia, Duvin would earn an assist in the 5-1 victory. As a side note, Loganne Rheaume, whose aunt Manon once played for the Tampa Bay Lightning, also earned her first career point for the Carabins in the contest.
Duvin would enjoy further success against Concordia, highlighted by an October 30 performance that not only resulted in her first CIS goal, but the first multi-point game as well. With 42 seconds remaining in the first period, Duvin and fellow French national teammate Emmanuelle Passard logged the assists on a power play tally by Rika Pilon-Robert.
As Montreal enjoyed a 3-1 lead heading into the third period, Concordia’s rookie sensation Audrey Belzile trimmed their lead at the 2:12 mark. Exactly four minutes later, Duvin extended their lead, capitalizing on a power play opportunity as Maude Laramee and Kim Poirier both earned the assists on her milestone goal, part of a 5-2 final
While Duvin prepares for the second half, ambitiously aiming to provide more solid performances, the exceptional team culture has served as the element that she prefers most about being part of the Carabins, which is poised to make her an ideal fit for a team building towards a strong future.
“I think I enjoy most the ambiance of the team. We are like a family. Everyone has a role to play with the team. We all understand what each other has to do and it is a great atmosphere.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”
Images obtained from Facebook (Photo credit Team France: Stephane Heude)