Jocelyne Lamoureux is making her Olympic debut in Vancouver, after helping the U.S. win gold at the 2009 World Championships. Lamoureux and her twin sister, Monique, are among the youngest members of the U.S. team at 19. She and her sister played one season at Minnesota (2008-09) before transferring to the University of North Dakota. Lamoureux is taking classes online in order to be eligible to play for North Dakota next year.
Roots in hockey
Lamoureux comes from what can only be described as a hockey family. Her father, Jean-Pierre, grew up in a small town outside Edmonton, Canada, and played hockey at North Dakota from 1979-82. There he met his wife, Linda, who is from Grand Forks, where they settled. Jocelyne has four older brothers: Jean-Philippe, a goaltender who played at North Dakota and is now in the Buffalo Sabres' farm system; Jacques, who plays at Air Force Academy; Pierre-Paul, who played several years in major juniors in Canada and is now a student-coach at North Dakota; and Mario, who currently plays for North Dakota.
Despite the family ties to North Dakota, Lamoureux and her sister committed to the University of Minnesota. At the time, North Dakota was in the midst of a coaching change, and the uncertainty about the team's future led them to the Gophers. In her first season, Lamoureux scored 65 points (28-37) in 40 games, and helped lead Minnesota to the Frozen Four. She finished second on the team in scoring, behind her sister, Monique.
Meanwhile, a new coach was turning things around at North Dakota. That coach, Brian Idalski, was well known to the Lamoureuxs, and after their first season, they decided to transfer to North Dakota. "We saw the improvement [at North Dakota]," she said, "and we both just felt was the right thing for us." But there were no hard feelings for Minnesota, just the opportunity to return home. "We had a really good time in Minnesota," she said. "It doesn't matter where you are, if your heart's not in it, you're not going to be successful."
In order to earn eligibility for next year, Lamoureux is taking a full course load online. Their hockey schedule often doesn't leave much free time, so they are taking only basic requirements - "the easiest classes we could find." She and her sister are enrolled in all of the same courses, so they can study together. She is undecided on her major but is planning to get a degree in exercise science, which she is interested in. "I have no idea what I want to do" Lamoureux said, "but I figured I should do something where I can stay awake in class."
At her first World Championships in April 2009, Lamoureux helped the U.S. team to its second-consecutive gold medal over Canada. In 2008, Lamoureux was one of the last players cut from the team before Worlds, so the next year was her chance to prove she belonged. "It was the most exciting win I've been a part of," she said. "Standing on the blueline and hearing the national anthem, that's when the importance of a game like that really hits."
After learning to skate at age 2, Lamoureux started playing hockey by age 5. The family would play around on a pond across the street from the house. With six skaters of their own, they barely needed any help from neighborhood kids to get a game going. And with four older brothers, Lamoureux had plenty of help when she was learning the game. "They're excited for us, proud of us, happy to see us pursuing our dreams," Lamoureux said of her family. "I know we're thankful for all the help they've given us and for pushing us."
As the pilot for the USA-1 bobsled, I broke a 62-year gold medal drought when my sled, the 'Night Train" won the Olympic title at the 2010 Vancouver Games. A degenerative eye condition nearly caused me to quit my sport in 2008, but corrective surgery restored my vision to 20-20.