Olympic gold medalists Lamoureux twins try to inspire youth with Fargo visit
FARGO -- On the first day back in the states after winning an Olympic gold medal in South Korea, Grand Forks natives Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson were about to go on the ice at the Staples Center. The U.S. women's hoc...
FARGO - On the first day back in the states after winning an Olympic gold medal in South Korea, Grand Forks natives Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson were about to go on the ice at the Staples Center. The U.S. women's hockey team was being honored before a February matchup between the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights.
As the Lamoureux twins waited in the tunnel, two young girls in hockey gear came by. They were also twins and must've been playing with a youth hockey team between periods. They weren't supposed to take pictures, but the Lamoureux sisters felt they had to take one with them. They will never forget how the picture turned out. Monique and Jocelyne looked at the camera, but both little girls were looking up at them in the photo.
"That one was pretty special," Monique said Friday at Sanford Children's Hospital. "To be able to have connections like that is special."
On Friday, the two former UND hockey players were showing kids at a children's hospital their gold medals and answering questions for youth girls hockey players at Scheels Arena prior to a Fargo Force game. Thursday, March 29, was the one-year anniversary of the University of North Dakota announcing the cutting of women's hockey. Jocelyne couldn't hide the groan when the topic of UND cutting women's hockey was brought up.
"I think it's important to recognize the importance of athletics, sports for kids, for boys and girls," Jocelyne said. "Girls and boys drop out of sports around the age 13, 14, but drastically faster girls drop out of sports. But girls who participate in sports growing up and through high school and, if they have the opportunity, through college, statistically have more successful careers.
"If we can be an example of the life lessons learned in sports, not necessarily trying to play Team USA or trying to play for the Olympic team, I think that's what's really important because the life lessons you learn through sport it transcends just being a good athlete. It's about being a good person and being able to work with others and working hard and, so if you can be an example of that and try to change that trend and offer more opportunities than we had growing up then that's what we want to do and that's what we want to be a part of."
On Jocelyne's cell phone is a picture of Lisa Brown-Miller standing between her and Monique when they were in second grade. Brown-Miller won a gold medal with the 1998 U.S. women's hockey team.
"That just lit a fire in us and inspired us to want to chase an Olympic dream, so if we can be that spark for the next generation and we can meet as many young players as possible today that's what we're going to do," Jocelyne said.
The two did the same in a private meet and greet with girls youth hockey teams at Scheels Arena on Friday. They answered questions and took pictures with teams and then signed autographs for the general public.
When Becky Trumbo told her Under-8 Patriots team its was going to see the Lamoureux sisters there was mixed reaction. Some jaws dropped, while others needed reminding about the Olympics they watched together. On Friday, all of them were jumping up and down after taking a picture with the Lamoureux sisters.
"They're such good role models," Trumbo said. "Everything they said is so positive. It's not about winning. It's about being good teammates, it's about working hard."
Shane Allmendinger's U8 Moorhead team was awestruck after their photo op with the sisters.
"I just thought it was good for them to see the success that girls can have in hockey, the opportunities the sport can provide for them," Allmendinger said. "I thought they had a good message overall, not just about hockey, but life and work ethic. One girl asked if you're not on the ice and you have to sit a shift out what can you learn. I thought their answer to that was really good, not just about hockey, but life in general, working as hard as you and understanding when your moment my come and being as prepared as you can for that."
The last question asked from a youth hockey player was how the sisters want to leave their legacy.
"What we want people to remember is that we were good role models and when we went through our boycott last spring with USA hockey that wasn't necessarily for us, but for the younger generation," Jocelyne said. "We believe that boys should have equal opportunity as girls."
The crowd applauded.