Ice Hockey players Monique Lamoureux (L) and Jocelyne Lamoureux pose for a portrait during the 2013 Team USA Media Summit ahead of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games on Oct. 2, 2013 in Park City, Utah.
Monique Lamoureux has spent thousands of hours working to become one of the nation’s best hockey players. She’s also worked hard in the classroom to get a degree in exercise science, and is about to complete her master’s in kinesiology.
But business? She never thought about it. Business plans, branding, marketing and return on investment were foreign terms and concepts.
“I actually have no business background,” said Lamoureux, 25, a former University of North Dakota star who was part of the 2010 and 2014 U.S. Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Teams that won silver medals.
In the months since Sochi, however, that’s all changed. You can add businesswoman to her résumé, along with athlete and graduate student.
After the Olympic Winter Games, Monique and her twin, Jocelyne — a teammate at North Dakota and the U.S. Olympic Team — were discussing what they’d like to do over the next few years and came up with the idea of putting on hockey camps for kids. The sisters and their brother Mario, a former captain of the North Dakota men’s team, decided to team up to pursue that idea.
But when Jocelyne took a job as strength coach for the North Dakota women’s team and Mario got busy, suddenly it was up to Monique to get things going.
“If we were going to do these camps, it was going to be on me to get it organized, and I would be doing all the business side of things,” she said recently.
She talked to those in business about how to go about starting up an LLC, then got the business, Lamoureux Hockey, set up.
“This was something completely new for me, and I kind of went in not knowing much,” she said. “I know the right people that have been able to help me, so I’m making sure I’m doing everything the right way and whatnot. It’s something that’s completely new and different, but has really started off as a huge success for us.”
Lamoureux Hockey held its first three-day youth camp in June in the Lamoureuxs’ hometown of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and sold out all its spots for boys and girls in the 8-10 and 11-13 age groups.
“We ended up having to turn kids away, which was unfortunate, but a good problem to have,” she said.
Already, at least three, three-day camps are planned for next summer in North Dakota.
North Dakota’s Hockey Family
Monique Lamoureux is currently living in Massachusetts, where she is training (with the goal of playing in the 2018 Winter Games), finishing her studies — she should complete her master’s through the University of North Dakota in October — and hoping to play for the Boston Blades of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
She also plans to work with individual girls and girls’ teams in hockey-skills instruction in Massachusetts before returning to North Dakota next summer for additional youth camps. The plan is for her coaching and the Lamoureux Hockey camps to help fund the sisters’ next four years of training for the Winter Games, which will be held in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The Lamoureux name in North Dakota certainly is well known. In 2010, in fact, Sports Illustrated published a story about the family headlined “House of Hockey.” The Lamoureux sisters helped take UND to a new level during their time at the school, and Jocelyne (No. 3) and Monique (No. 8) finished in the top 10 in NCAA Div. I scoring their senior season of 2012-13. Their father, Pierre, played at North Dakota, and brothers Jean-Philippe, Jacques, Mario and Pierre-Paul all played college or professional hockey.
Monique says Jacques — who played for the Air Force Academy and studied business — has been a huge help, answering her questions and aiding her young business with its accounting. She says Mario, a former UND captain who’s terrific with kids, teamed with her to do on-ice instruction at the recent camp. Jocelyne, who was rehabbing from shoulder surgery (and also planning for her wedding), did a lot of the registration. Monique is hopeful, too, that her other brothers might eventually be able to take part in camps.
Because of their name and place in North Dakota hockey, Monique says she feels a responsibility to put on the best camps possible. It’s why she and Mario provided hands-on instruction.
“I mean, it’s our name, Lamoureux Hockey,” she said. “So we feel like kids and their parents are paying to be working with us, so I think it’s really important that there’s always one of us on the ice, or two of us, always working with the kids.”
While Lamoureux Hockey is a business — and all businesses are designed to make money — she and Jocelyne and Mario want to help kids develop their skills and improve in the game they love so much.
Plus, for Monique and Jocelyne, the camps can be a means of giving back to girls’ hockey in their home state. Monique noted that UND women’s basketball and volleyball have been successful in recent years and have become the most popular sports for girls in the state.
“So we’d like to get hockey kind of on that trend,” she said.
In their camps, the boys and girls are together. In doing work for her own master’s thesis, Jocelyn discovered that until they hit puberty, young male and female athletes can benefit from playing and practicing together.
What Monique saw in their first camp backed that up.
“They were all mixed together and it went fine,” Monique said. “There wasn’t really huge discrepancies, and when we split into groups we made sure they were split by caliber, not by gender. It went really well considering you never see that it’s mixed co-ed in hockey camps.”
All the while, Monique continues to get a crash course in business education.
“I think my parents were pretty surprised I took the bull by the horns and just really went for it and asked questions of the people I knew that would have answers for me,” Monique said. “We were selling apparel at the camps and I ended up having to put in a whole new order because there wasn’t enough to go around. So my dad … I talked to him the other day, and he was having a good laugh about it. He said, ‘You’re turning into quite the entrepreneur.’”
Doug Williams covered three Olympic Games for two Southern California newspapers and was the Olympic editor for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He has written for TeamUSA.org since 2011 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.