And if you ever want to know how to tell them apart, it’s simple. Monique is the one who tied the game late in the third period of that 2018 gold-medal game against Canada, and Jocelyne is the one who won it with a sensational goal in the shootout.
“Monique and Jocelyne were fierce competitors, and their desire to win was evident every time they wore the USA jersey,” said Pat Kelleher, executive director of USA Hockey. “They have been a big part of the success of our program for many years. We thank them for their passion and dedication and wish them nothing but the very best in the future.”
“Our dream since as long we could remember was to wear the red, white and blue and become Olympic champions together,” the Lamoureux’s said in a joint statement. “As twins, our hockey career and lives will forever be intertwined, so it is only fitting that we are retiring together as well. We want to thank USA Hockey for giving us the opportunity to represent our country for so many years. It is the right time for us to step away from the game as players, but we will remain in hockey in some capacity moving forward. Thank you to all of our teammates, coaches and fans who have supported us during our hockey journey.”
As young girls, they came by their love for hockey honestly. Their father, Pierre, was born in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, and played goal at the University of North Dakota in the early 1980s. He settled there and married Linda, and the couple had six children, four boys who all played hockey – Jacques, Jean-Philippe, Mario, and Pierre-Paul – and twin girls.
Jocelyne and Monique attended Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep School as teens, and from there their hockey skills developed by leaps and bounds to the point that they pursued the game at the college level and through USA Hockey.
Twins being twins, the sisters had identical college careers. They played a season at the University of Minnesota (2008-09) and transferred home to North Dakota for their final three years of NCAA eligibility (2010-13), playing under Swedish coach Peter Elander.
“He always said, it’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice,” Monique said in fond recollection.
While Jocelyne is a natural forward, Monique was always willing and able to play both up and back, something she did in college and with Team USA. In fact, she is the only woman in IIHF history to be named to a tournament all-star team as both a forward (2012) and defenceman (2015, 2016, 2017).
“She played half her college career as a forward, half as a D,” Jocelyne said in praise. “If there was a weekend series, and we needed a hole to fill, Monique would fill it. It’s not easy, but she could do it all, could adapt and do whatever the team needed. By the 2018 Olympics, Monique had been playing defence for three and a half years, and right before the start she got switched to forward and had a great tournament.”
The twins made their senior debuts at the 2009 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship in Hameenlinna, Finland, beating Canada, 4-1, for the gold. They won gold at the next WW in 2011 and after a silver in 2012 have seen only gold since, including four in a row at the Women’s Worlds.
Kelly Pannek spotted the poor change, and saw Monique at the Canadian blue line, all alone. She rifled the pass up, and Monique went in alone, beating goalie Shannon Szabados and tying the score with only 6:21 remaining.
“I remember going in and having lots of time. I was thinking something our coach Peter Elander always said – If you have a breakaway, shoot,” Monique recalled.
A thrilling finish and 20-minute overtime settled nothing, and a penalty-shot shootout was required. As to be expected, even this went into extra time, and 12 shots were required to find a winner. With shot number 11, Jocelyne made a sensational move and beat Szabados, and then Maddie Rooney stoned Meghan Agosta. The Americans had won their first Olympic gold in 20 years.
“We learned a lot from 2010 and 2014, that you can do all the little things, you can work your hardest, but you’re never guaranteed to accomplish anything that you set out to do, so to cap off our national team career with a win in 2018 and the way that we did it is special for us,” Jocelyne said. “We’re just grateful to our coaches and teammates and family. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
“It was fitting that we didn’t know it at the time that that would be our last game,” Monique added. “You put different kinds of pressure on yourself if we had known that. We had every intention of continuing, but as you get older life happens, you start families, your perspective and priorities change. It’s not an easy decision, but it’s right for us.”
Perhaps the only difference between the two career-wise is that Monique won the Clarkson Cup on her own with the Boston Blades in 2014/15, but retiring together was as natural as playing together.
“We’re able to come to this decision with clear minds and clear hearts. It’s the right time for us,” Jocelyne said.
“I’m due with our second son in five weeks, so expanding our family is the next thing on our horizon,” Monique revealed. “And our book is coming out in two weeks, so that’ll keep us busy for a while. And we started a foundation two years ago, and the pandemic has allowed us the time to really develop a plan for that. We’re really excited about that.”
In the greater picture, Jocelyne is also an integral part of the PWHPA as it tries to navigate the muddy waters towards a professional women’s league. The pandemic has only made things more difficult, but the 125 or so players in that association are fighters all. Jocelyne hopes to be a part of that larger solution.
“I’m very involved with calls and e-mails every day,” she explained. “I think that’s the next big step for women’s hockey is having a sustainable league where all the best players are playing. The Olympics and World Championships are amazing for national team players but we need more than the top few players. To grow the game, we need something exciting all season for fans to watch. As a board member of the PWHPA, I think we have some amazing things lined up. We’ve just had some great partnerships announced with the Leafs and the Rangers and with Secret Canada. It’s exciting to see. The momentum is on our side, and I think we’re going to accomplish something great in the next couple of years.”
So, you see, the Lamoureuxs have retired from the game, but they aren’t really going anywhere.