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Lamoureux Twins Hang Up Their Skates

By Joanne C. Gerstner | Feb. 09, 2021, 3:39 p.m. (ET)

Monique Lamoureux-Morando #7 and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson #17 pose for a portrait on Jan. 16, 2018 in Wesley Chapel, Fla.

 

They didn’t know it at the time, but Team USA superstars and twin sisters Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando wrote the perfect storybook ending to their hockey careers.

It was the gold-medal game against archrival Canada at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018. Monique tied the score late in the third period, then Jocelyne won the tournament with her for-the-ages shootout goal.

The American women hadn’t won the Olympic gold medal since 1998, but that drought ended with the sisters and longtime national team standouts leading the way. Although they would go on to play in a few more games with the national team in the following years, that proved to be a fitting end to their major tournament play, as they each had children in 2019 and then had to sit out 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of most international hockey.

It all led to Tuesday’s announcement: the 31-year-old sisters retired as two of the most decorated hockey players in American women’s history. Their trophy cases include an Olympic gold and two silver medals, plus six golds and a silver representing the U.S. in the world championships.

Tuesday’s USA Hockey video press conference featured pop-ins from former teammate Angela Ruggiero and track and field legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee to praise the sisters and wish them well. 

The low-key sisters said they were shocked at the reaction to their retirement. To them, it was just another sub-zero winter day in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

“We went to the gym and worked out for about an hour, and when we got through, we looked at our phones — the messages were going off,” said Jocelyne, smiling. “It’s been consistent through the day. The most meaningful messages are from our teammates, whether we played with you for a year or 10, 15 years.”

Monique added, “We saw a friend at the gym, and we had told her a week ago we were retiring. She asked us if that was coming up soon. I looked at the clock and said, ‘It’s being announced right now.’ It’s nice that we took some time for ourselves today. We’re trying to soak everything in. So, it may take us a day or two for us to get back to the nice messages. … It’s been pretty cool and special.”

The sisters decided to retire before the hard training and camp cycles soon arrive ahead of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022. Monique is due with her second child, a boy, in a month and did not feel she would have enough time to recover and properly train for another Olympics.

Still in their athletic primes, they certainly could have kept going at the top levels of hockey. But they said they knew this was the time to step back, and the people close to them respected their decision.

“The way we are training, and the way we’ve done it, we’ve done all we can do to prepare — it’s not glamorous,” Jocelyne said. “A lot of our close friends and teammates know that. Obviously, we did not come to this decision lightly, and I know we’re not going to change our minds.”

They started playing hockey together, on a squirt boys’ team in Grand Forks, and spent 14 years in the U.S. national team. Now they end their on-ice journeys as champions.

The sisters memorably lifted Team USA to gold in the 2018 Winter Games, beating longtime rival Canada with a stunning sequence from the twins. Monique scored the game-tying goal in the third period, and Jocelyne sealed the win in the shootout with one of the greatest clutch goals in hockey.

Her winning goal, dubbed “Oops … I Did It Again!” from the Britney Spears song, involved a hard-sell fake to get Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados to drop to the ice. Then Jocelyne switched the puck to her backhand. Szabados tried to flip the other way, only to have Jocelyne end with a forehand fired into the open net.

It was a spine-tingling ending, fit for a hockey movie. And the 5-foot-6 twins, known for their smarts as well as their tough play, made it happen.

Jocelyne and Monique have also made a lasting impact off the ice, advocating for maternity stipends, improved pay, travel and training conditions from USA Hockey in 2017. The push by the national team’s women was successful, leading to a four-year agreement. The sisters both had their first children in 2019 and used the maternity benefits they had negotiated for.

They said on Tuesday they want to remain active in the game, from Jocelyne being on the board of the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association and aiming to grow the women’s pro game to building their foundation to help more children experience hockey. Both said they want to help women’s hockey grow, from the grass roots to the national team level. And they are releasing their first book, “Dare to Make History,” in a few weeks.

But the big question remained: If Team USA had not won gold in 2018, would the sisters have kept playing to reach Beijing 2022?

“My husband asked me that two weeks ago … and I thought about it,” Jocelyne said. “It would have made the decision more difficult, because we had been chasing a dream for so long. If we had not won, who knows? But we did. So, we’re able to come to this decision with clear minds and clear hearts. It’s the right time for us.”

Monique nodded, and said, “Life happens. Perspectives and priorities change. It’s definitely not an easy decision, but it’s one that is right for us at the right time.”

 

Joanne C. Gerstner

Joanne C. Gerstner has covered two Olympic Games and writes about sports regularly for the New York Times and other outlets. She has written for TeamUSA.org since 2009 as a freelance contributor on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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