It’s the day of our semifinal game at the 2016 world championships in Kamloops, British Columbia. Our team has finished first in round-robin play and got a bye into the semifinal game. We will play Russia and hope to continue on and defend our world championship from last season. Because of our bye to the semifinal game, we bought ourselves an extra day off. While four teams battled Friday to move on in the tournament, we took to the ice for a light practice. It was April 1st, so in typical fashion, the players wanted to have a little fun with it.
It didn’t take long for us to decide that my twin sister (Jocelyne) and I would switch places for the beginning of our practice. Every player on the team has known us for a number of years now and they don’t even think we look alike. I can’t say this for one of our coaches though. For some reason, he has had a little trouble telling us apart, even though we play different positions and wear different colored jerseys for practice. As we started our first warm-up drill, Coach looks at Jocelyne closely, who is in my jersey, and goes “Moe, stand right there and pass me a puck.”
Jocelyne kept a straight face, while everyone else started to giggle and laugh. We then continued on to the next drill, where the defensemen and forwards have separate rolls in the drill. At the halfway point in the drill, Jocelyne and I skated to the middle of the ice, took our jerseys off and put on the correct color while everyone started cheering and tapping their sticks. All the while, our coaches hadn’t suspected anything. I’m sure had we continued on to the next drill, they definitely would have noticed Jocelyne playing defense.
Jocelyne and I are roommates for this tournament. When we are at national team camps, we are never roommates, but for a big tournament, we usually get stuck together because we pretty much have the same schedules. We get up early, we go to bed early, we like the same TV shows, etc. Kind of what you would expect out of twins. We would prefer it that way because of our routines. When you have been a twin your whole life, and then add always playing on the same teams and playing the same sports, one could assume that we know each other’s schedule and habits.
Now that we are out of college, Jocelyne and I, along with some of our teammates, continue to train and play hockey, but also have jobs outside of hockey. We have newfound appreciation and perspective for being at world championships. This is our sixth world championship with Team USA, but it feels like a vacation. I understand how some people may interpret that at us not taking it seriously, but let me give you a little glimpse into our world.
On a typical day, we get up between 4:30-5:30 a.m. to go to work. Jocelyne and I are both Performance Specialists for Altru Sports Advantage Powered by EXOS in Grand Forks, North Dakota. After we coach an adult class, our trainer, Anthony Morando, who also happens to be my fiancé, then trains the two of us. From there, Jocelyne or myself will coach a 9 a.m. and noon adult group. From the noon group, we both go to the rink and get in our own practice on the ice. We do not play in one of the professional women’s leagues (NWHL and CWHL), so we train and skate on our own, aside from a few games we played with the Minnesota Whitecaps. After we skate, I usually go back to coach our youth group while Jocelyne stays at the rink to train the University of North Dakota women’s hockey team. From there, we head home to cook dinner for our husbands (fiancé, in my case) and wind down before we start the next day.
Now back to being at world championships. Our sole focus is to play the game we love with the best female hockey players in the world. We get to wake up in the morning, spend time with amazing teammates, compete and be a part of something that is bigger than ourselves, and have another opportunity to better ourselves on and off the ice. We get to put it all to the test. All the long days, early mornings, training sessions, ice sessions, and preparation have allowed us for the opportunity to showcase what we have been working towards. That sure sounds like a whole lot of fun – almost like a vacation.