If women’s hockey ever gets to the point where its players can make a living by competing full-time in a viable professional league, those who do will owe no small debt to a pair of twins from North Dakota whose Canadian father crossed the border to be a backup university goaltender. When Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson announced their retirement from the U.S. national women’s team Tuesday morning, they did so secure in the knowledge of their place in the game and their huge part in growing the sport.
Let’s start with on the ice. Going into the gold-medal game of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, the Americans had been vanquished in the previous four Olympics and Canada was their kryptonite. And it very much looked as though that number would stretch to five when Canada carried a 2-1 lead into the third period of the decisive game, with Marie-Philip Poulin scoring to put the Canadians ahead. “Anyone who follows women’s hockey knows that when (Poulin) scores, it’s a pretty important goal,” remembered Lamoureux-Morando.
But with less than seven minutes remaining in the game, Lamoureux-Morando was sprung for a breakaway and tied the score, setting the stage for Lamoureux-Davidson to score the winner in the shootout. The twins were the best players on the ice in the game, one that set the stage for an explosion of growth in girls’ hockey in the United States.
And off the ice, the twins (especially Lamoureux-Davidson) were instrumental in staring down the hockey establishment and making huge gains for women’s players by threatening to sit out the 2017 World Women’s Championship, which was scheduled for Ann Arbor, Mich. That women’s team took a stand for better pay and treatment, along with the maternity benefits both twins would later utilize. “We joke about it, but (Lamoureux-Davidson) was ultimately the one who made the call to get the ball rolling,” Lamoureux-Morando said of her sister. “She’s never afraid to have a tough conversation, she’s never afraid to do the things that might stand out or might…”
“Get me in trouble?” Lamoureux-Davidson chuckled.
Their on-ice credentials are impeccable. Along with the Olympic gold in 2018, they each have six Olympic World Championship gold medals, two Olympic silvers and one World Championship silver. (Lamoureux-Morando also won a Clarkson Cup with the Boston Blades in 2015.) Both were standouts at the University of North Dakota, with Lamoureux-Morando finishing as a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award (which goes to the best player in U.S. women’s college hockey) in 2012 and Lamoureux-Davidson being a finalist a year later. Monique, in fact, is the only player in history to be named an all-star at the World Women’s Championship at both forward and defense. “When we were in college, she played half forward and half defense,” Lamoureux-Davidson said of her sister. “She’d switch in the middle of a weekend series. In 2018, she had played three-and-a-half years on defense, then just before the tournament, she switched to forward. Some forwards can’t go from right wing to left wing or center to win, but Monique can pretty much do it all…except center.”
The twins are saying goodbye as players, just a year before they could have suited up again for Team USA in the Olympics. But they’re both content to leave the game on their terms. Lamoureux-Morando is expecting her second son in five weeks and Lamoureux-Davidson is busy with her son. Their book, Dare to Make History – Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity, is due to come out in a couple of months.
Most elite players, and the Lamoureux twins are no exception to this, retire not because they’re tired of playing the game, but because they no longer have the drive to prepare in the off-season to be the best players they can be. They acknowledged the way they train “isn’t glamorous,” even if the results can be. Lamoureux-Davidson will continue in her capacity as a board member for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association and both will continue to be involved in the game.
But for now, they’re content to spend time with their growing families and not be burdened by the shackles of the high-level regimen required to be an elite international athlete. Lamoureux-Davidson said, for example, that she ate her son Nelson’s leftover oatmeal and a banana for breakfast Tuesday morning before getting him off to daycare. “I had a pancake,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “My diet is quite different that I’m pregnant, so I just eat whatever sounds good at the time. I’m lucky it wasn’t M&Ms and a piece of banana bread or something because that could very well be it some mornings.”
And those would be just desserts for two players who have earned their retirements and their accolades, both on and off the ice.