Olympic gold medalist twins Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson have announced their retirement from hockey.
The Lamoureux twins told NBC Sports that they made the joint decision to retire after reflecting on how they want to prioritize their time going forward.
“Before last year, we never really felt like we were missing out on life events because of hockey,” Jocelyne said on Monday. “We’ve missed funerals, we’ve missed weddings, we’ve missed big family events before, and it never really felt like we were missing out. And last year, that feeling kind of changed.”
At the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, the twins played a major role in helping the U.S. women’s hockey team claim its first gold medal since 1998. In the final against Canada, with just over six minutes left in the third period, Monique scored the game-tying goal to force overtime. In the shootout that followed, Jocelyne scored the gold medal-winner with a deke nicknamed the “Oops, I did it again.”
After PyeongChang, both sisters took a break from the sport to start their own families. Monique, who is the “older” twin by two minutes, gave birth to son, Mickey, in December 2018. A month later, Jocelyne gave birth to son Nelson. Monique is currently pregnant with her second child.
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While Monique and Jocelyne, 31, retire from the sport with no shortage of accolades – including three Olympic medals and six world titles – their decision to retire also reflects the current state of women’s hockey, a sport in which consistent competition and meaningful wages are tied almost exclusively to an event that occurs once every four years: the Olympics.
“You look at the landscape of women’s hockey… and we’re putting off having a family to try to compete in the Olympics,” Jocelyne explained. “It’s not like you have a thriving professional league to step into year-in and year-out. [It’s not like] in soccer or basketball and tennis, where if you’re trying to have a child, you can have a baby and you have something to step into right away.”
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Jocelyne, who is on the board of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association (PWHPA), says she hopes future female hockey players won’t face the same dilemma.
“We’re hoping that there [will be] more opportunities for women’s hockey players, and not just national team players… [so they can] continue to play with the appropriate financial support, maternity benefits and retirement benefits. So that when you’re retiring – and hopefully [retiring] beyond the age of 30 – you’ve been able to save money and you’ve been able to create a decent life that hasn’t been based on having to overwork yourself.”
The twins have helped lead similar fights in the past. Ahead of the 2017 World Championship, after over a year of negotiations, Jocelyne and Monique were members of the U.S. team that threatened to boycott the tournament if a dispute with USA Hockey (the team’s national governing body) was not resolved. At the time, the players were advocating for better pay and resources (including maternity protections).
Less than two years later, the Lamoureux twins were the first two athletes to take advantage of the maternity protections that were included as part of the 2017 agreement with USA Hockey.
“As far as we know, USA Hockey is [now] the leading [national governing body] when it comes to supporting their athletes that are moms,” Monique said on Monday. “And so we’re really proud to have been a part of making that happen.”
Later this month, the Lamoureux twins will be publishing their first book: Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity.
[READ MORE: How the Lamoureux twins had to fight for their spot on the U.S. roster ahead of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics]Follow @AlexAzziNBC