Olympic hockey gold medalists Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando have had quite the month. On Feb. 9 the identical twins announced their joint decision to retire from their beloved sport, and this week they released a memoir chronicling their high-profile fight for pay equity — which they have no intention of backing away from.
The Lamoureux twins sat down with Know Your Value founder and “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski this week to talk about the new chapter in their lives, their continued battle for equity and what drove them to write "Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity."
“We’ve devoted so much of our time and our energy to hockey, and to the national team specifically for the past 15-plus years,” Lamoureux-Morando told Brzezinski. And the women have played hockey since their childhoods in North Dakota.
She explained that in the space of just 18 months, the twins — are also Know Your Value contributors — lost two of their grandparents and their godfather, and each woman gave birth to her first child. Then the Covid-19 pandemic hit. While they returned from maternity leave to attend camps and other trainings for the U.S. women’s national ice hockey team in 2019, the landscape was simply different.
“It just put everything into perspective for us and where we want to prioritize and devote our time,” Lamoureux-Morando said. “So much of it has been devoted to hockey for so long that I think we were ready for the next stage in life.”
But while it’s the end of one stage for the Lamoureuxs, who were pivotal in the team’s bringing Olympic gold home to the U.S. from PyeongChang in 2018, they have no plans to stop their fight to bring pay equity to women athletes.
As they write in “Dare to Make History,” starting in 2014 the twins helped lead their national hockey team’s fight for fair and equal treatment by USA Hockey and the International Ice Hockey Federation — asking for not only equal pay compared to the men’s hockey team, but also equitable marketing support, maternity protections, more funding for girls’ youth hockey programs and more.
They would later be among members who threatened to boycott the 2017 World Tournament if the dispute was not resolved. Finally, in March 2017 the team reached an agreement with USA Hockey. The deal was a widely hailed achievement that received lots of press coverage, including in a Forbes article naming the twins to its 30 Under 30 list.
That four-year contract is up in March, and the twins will be part of the player committee helping to negotiate the next.
“We feel like that’s a great foundation to start from,” Lamoureux-Davidson said, “but we want to continue to push for more for the national team and for the next generation, and just continue to create more equity across the board for young girls and women.”
In 2019, Lamoureux-Davidson became a board member of the newly formed Professional Women’s Hockey Player Association, a union created to provide athletes with training opportunities “until they have a professional league” that provides fair pay and stability, and a next step in the battle for gender equity in hockey.
“The legacy you leave for female hockey players, especially with the new union — is it going to make a difference so they don’t have to fight like you guys did, basically throwing all your chips on the table and walking away?” Brzezinski asked.
“When we think about our career and we think about medals won — yes, we’re proud of that — but when we think about what our team went through in 2017 and what we were all willing to risk to fight for more, that’s what we’re most proud of,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Not just our legacy but our team’s legacy in that era, is what’s most important to all of us,” she added, noting that it will have an effect on young female hockey players in the US and abroad.
Ultimately, the twins said, the lessons they hope readers will take away from “Dare to Make History” go beyond hockey to universal messages of strength, empathy and the will to fight for what’s right.
“We’ve learned much bigger lessons than just trying to win what you do at your sport — it’s about trying to inspire others, to pick people up when they’re down along the way,” Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Even though we’re trying to accomplish something great … there’s an opportunity to make an impact along the way. And we all have that opportunity … to be a voice.”