Some athletes have a dream of playing sports at the professional level and becoming superstars. Others are complacent with being good enough to play through college and then call it a day. For Jocelyn and Monique Lamoureux, their journey wasn’t over until they struck gold. Literally. Both had won two silver and one gold medal at the Olympics, the hardware represents much more than that. As two of the most decorated women’s hockey players in Olympic and NCAA history, they announced their retirement from the game Tuesday in an article on The Player’s Tribune.
In the article titled “More Than Medals,” the twin sisters highlighted their career, beginning to end. Monique Lamoureux recounted times in youth hockey that paint a picture young hockey players know all too well.
“Mom and Dad would herd us into the Chevy Astro van and then shuffle us into the rink. Dad would have already tied our skates back at home so we sort of just waddled through the parking lot toward the arena trying not to yard sale (trip, fall, and have our gear go flying) as we crossed the street.”Monique Lamoureux-Morando
So we all come from humble beginnings. In many cases, at least from what I remember when my sister started out, weekends started very early. Around 6 AM, and she would be in the car dressed in case the lobby was too crowded. It’s almost like a rite of passage.
“Lamoureux Telegraphs That One”
While time passed and their vision for success became more focused, Jocelyne knew the future for both would be bright.
[For a 3rd grade class assignment] “I was doing an infographic on the computer. The upper left corner had a box labeled DREAMS, and I wrote: ‘When I am 17 years old, I want to be on the American or Canadian Olympic hockey team with my sister Monique.’ That’s the very beginning of our journey…And now we’re at the end.“Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson
Some authors aren’t even that good at foreshadowing in their novels. Either way, the lofty goal that once was intangible would soon be realized. As a dynamic duo at the University of Minnesota and North Dakota, the NCAA was merely a stepping stone to Olympic glory.
In their tenure at UND, both sisters built a resume that could be unparalleled considering they never won an NCAA Championship. No offense, their individual accolades speak louder than that acclaimed title could. Both sisters made the All-WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Assoc.) First team in 2009 as rookies. Monique reigned as the 2009 WCHA Scoring Champion, Jocelyne taking that title in 2012. As well as the 2012 NCAA Scoring Champion. Unfortunately, the University of North Dakota cut their women’s hockey program, as mentioned in their article. Needless to say, their accomplishments and achievements didn’t need to solidify greatness. Greatness came from eventually representing and inspiring a nation full of sports fanatics and young, aspiring female athletes alike.
An Olympic-Sized Opportunity
Now to set the table, the Olympics have always had ice hockey in their Winer games since 1920. However, they introduced women’s ice hockey in 1998 at the games in Nagano, Japan. The United States won the Gold Medal against Canada in the inaugural games. Unfortunately, it took until 2018 for the US to win Gold again.
“Nagano in ’98 really just put that feeling over the top for us. Of course, that was the first year that women’s hockey was an Olympic sport and the U.S. won gold. I really can’t overstate the impact that that team had on our generation of girls.”Monique Lamoureux-Marando
“We had no idea really what it meant to be a women’s hockey player. There were no professional leagues or real career paths for us. All we wanted was to put on that USA sweater and try to win gold. It was the real beginning of our dream…”Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson
It’s amazing to hear athletes recall their early years in a sport before their dreams are realized. It’s almost like a fairy tale come true. In 2010, the dynamic duo would make their Olympic debut in Vancouver, British Columbia. Representing the United States. Though the experience was a first for them, it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Nor would it be the last time they won a medal, having placed 2nd to Canada that year. 2014 in Sochi, Russia would see the same result as Team Canada defeated the USA 3-2 in Overtime. Jocelyne recorded an assist in the tilt vs Canada, though not enough for the victory. Beat us once in OT, shame on us. Beat us twice…well, I guess that’s fine but don’t expect a gold medal hat trick.
The Shot Heard ‘Round the World
In case you weren’t aware, PyeongChang, South Korea, and the United States don’t necessarily have the same time zone. This means when the Gold Medal championship game was played live at 8am, it aired on NBCSN at 11pm EST. On a weekday/night. The game officially ended at 2:42 AM. The Astronomy exam I had the next morning (technically 6 hours later) certainly didn’t deter me from watching every second. Either way, the game was exciting had we won or lost.
Like most Canada vs. USA battles, the Gold medal game was a stalemate throughout regulation. Goal for goal. Monique Lamoureux tied the game at 2 in the third period with a heads-up breakaway goal. Line changes are supposed to be quick, timed perfectly and Canada couldn’t do that which gave Lamoureux the head start.
Then things got interesting. Stressful. Intense. Any adjective you can think of to describe an uneasy feeling heading into Overtime for a Gold Medal, use that one. Twenty minutes of torture went by slowly as nobody scored unless we’re counting shots off the post. Then Team USA would have won by a landslide.
A shootout came as the deciding factor because everyone’s anxiety through regulation and overtime wasn’t enough. When you mix red, white, and blue on a color palette, oddly enough you get gold (not really). Team USA’s Gigi Marvin struck first in what would be yet another stalemate, a goal for goal. There is no discrediting the insane pressure that the players carried in these moments leading up to their win. But a career-defining moment came for Jocelyne Lamoureux in the final round of the shootout…
That drive to the net, though slow and steady, went by in a flash. I along with everyone watching with bated breath and most likely a caffeine rush at 2:30am were kept in suspense with every stride. The dangle of the century took place – and in front of the whole world. Goaltender Shannon Szabados got folded like a clean load of laundry. The rest is history. Lamoureux sealed the deal and the USA captured gold for the first time in 20 years.
“Joc, Hilary Knight, Meghan Duggan and I were the last players on the ice after the gold medal game in Pyeongchang…That’s the feeling that sticks with me after that incredible, perfect night. The game was intense. The overtime and shootout out were just as nerve-racking as they were awesome. Those feelings will last a lifetime — and to share it with Jocelyne was how we always pictured it.“Monique Lamoureux-Morando
A fair-weathered fan could watch any sports game and be completely uninterested in the outcome. Like an exhibition game at the Trials. But there’s something about watching an Olympic gold medal game that will change that perspective entirely. For example, the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team. When you have an entire country as your support system and being part of that fanbase, it gives a sense of pride that it’s more than just a game.
“Every time I look at my gold medal or even think about it, I’ll know it stands for so much more than just a single game at the Olympics. To us, it represents our parents, our husbands, our brothers, our coaches, our teachers, our teammates over the years, and all the incredible fans who stood by our team through thick and thin.“Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson
Playing for championships and Gold Medals are great, as they physically represent success. The intangible successes that result from these accolades are the inspiration and motivation it provides to younger demographics. The same ones who want to follow the same path that Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux took to reach the pinnacle of Olympic greatness. A career dedicated to playing with unconditional love for hockey. Meanwhile growing the game in fighting for equity for women in ice hockey. That is how their career will be defined…something that far supersedes a Gold medal.