Hockey’s Lamoureux twins, Jocelyne and Monique, retire as Olympic heroes

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Twins Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando potted the two most memorable goals of the 2018 Olympic hockey final, but two months earlier, they showed up to practice every day as if it was a tryout, knowing three players were about to be cut.

Lamoureux-Davidson and Lamoureux-Morando, who announced their retirements together on Tuesday at age 31, felt the pressure in late 2017. They were healthy scratches for all four games at the Four Nations Cup, the U.S.’ lone pre-Olympic tournament.

Two weeks later, USA Hockey announced that two skaters, both several years younger than the twins, were added to the player pool. It was a move reminiscent of Herb Brooks in 1980.

That put the team at 26 players. An Olympic roster of 23 would be named a month later on New Year’s Day.

“I know the entire team felt the pressure, but for the specific situation we were in with having been healthy scratched, we were playing on a razor-thin edge of one mistake could send you home,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “For about six weeks or so, we’re literally playing for our lives.”

The twins, relying on their trademark perseverance and adaptability, made their third Olympic team together.

On Feb. 18, 2018, Lamoureux-Morando scored a tying goal in the gold-medal game on a breakaway with 6 minutes, 21 seconds left in regulation.

As she skated toward Canadian goalie Shannon Szabados, she heard a Swedish man. It was Peter Elander, one of her coaches at the University of North Dakota, years earlier telling her that if she ever found herself in that situation, always shoot.

“I’ve never been on a breakaway in a gold-medal game like that before,” she said. “You dream about having moments like that as a kid.”

Lamoureux-Davidson was tapped for the sixth round of the shootout an hour later. She gave U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney a pound and a two-word message before the sudden-death round: Game over.

She took the puck down the other end of the ice, deked with a move dubbed “Oops, I did it again” and beat Szabados.

“I was just thinking, I want this game to be over and I want that damn gold medal,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Everything else is just kind of a blur.”

Moments later, Rooney made the final save. The U.S. won its first Olympic hockey title since the first Winter Games with a women’s event in 1998. The Lamoureuxs were on silver-medal teams in 2010 and 2014 and were part of a 2017 team that threatened to boycott in a successful fight for gender equity with USA Hockey.

“For everybody involved, it was incredibly special, but to see two players that had [grown] up in USA Hockey, to have that opportunity to showcase their skills that they had been perfecting their entire lives was an incredible moment,” said then-team general manager Reagan Carey, who surprised the roster by video conferencing in 1998 captain Cammi Granato before the game. “At the same time, I think they’d be also the first to say that their teammates were the ones that helped put them in that position.”

In a lot of ways, the twins were similar. But they also complemented each other.

“Monique was always willing to adapt and adjust to the various roles that were needed on the team,” Carey said, alluding to her playing both forward and defense on the national team. “Jocelyne just never quit. There’s always a way. A competitive attitude, an edge that really brought the energy to our team as well.”

The Lamoureuxs, born two minutes apart (Monique is older) into a North Dakota hockey family with four older brothers, honed their skating on a pond across the street from their house.

Doing things together became a habit: from making their first world championship team in 2009 to becoming moms within two months of each other in 2018 and 2019. They were the first players to take advantage of maternity protection added after the 2017 dispute. And, finally, in stepping away from the sport at the same time.

“I guess you could say it was kind of that twin radar,” said Lamoureux-Morando, who is due with her second boy next month.

She noted that they lost a godfather, a grandfather and a grandmother in a recent 18-month span.

“With all of the experiences we’ve been through in the last couple of years, it’s really put into perspective, made us really evaluate what’s really important to us moving forward and how we want to prioritize and spend our time,” she said, “because for well over half of our lives, it’s revolved around hockey and being the best teammates, athletes and leaders we can be.”

They’ve started a foundation to support underprivileged children and are about to become authors. “Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity” is out later this month.

The twins returned as moms to the U.S. national team in 2019, less than a year after giving birth, and played their final three Rivalry Series games with Canada.

“We were totally committed to coming back, and we had been training and going to camps all last year,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “We’d be away from our kids for a day or two or for two weeks sometimes. It really just made us think about the things we felt we were missing out on.

“Although a hard decision, we feel like it’s the right decision and the right time for us.”

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