Overcoming inequity in women’s hockey, explained by Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux

2018 Olympic gold medalists Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson
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Editor’s Note: Earlier this month, 2018 Olympic gold medalists Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson announced their retirement from hockey. In 2017, the Lamoureux twins were members of the U.S. team that threatened to boycott the World Championship tournament if a dispute with USA Hockey (the team’s national governing body) was not resolved in time. At the time, players were advocating for more equitable pay and resources (including maternity protections). The following year, the twins played a major role in helping the U.S. women’s hockey team claim its first gold medal since 1998. Monique and Jocelyne wrote about their career in hockey – from their early days playing pond hockey with their four brothers in North Dakota to their experience at the negotiating table – in their autobiography, Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity, which was published today (link here). 

By Monique Lamoureux-Morando and Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson

We first see the inequities

Jocelyne: When we were in high school at Shattuck St-Mary’s, our coach’s son made the world junior team. I remember hearing about his son’s experience and what the players were getting and thinking that must be pretty amazing.

Not long after, we started getting invited to U.S. national team camps and ultimately made our first national team. That’s when we realized that the women’s team wasn’t being given the same resources as the men.

Some of the discrepancies were more noticeable than others.

Monique: When we went to tournaments, our meals were provided at the hotel. But as athletes, we’re typically eating more than three meals a day – and not on a defined schedule. We received a per diem from USA Hockey to pay for additional food and other expenses, but the women received only $15/day, while male players received $50/day.

Jocelyne: Another inequity was with equipment. Male goalies on the national team received three custom painted red, white, and blue helmets. When women collegiate goalies made the national team, however, they would still go to national team events in their college gear.

Monique: This inequity was overlooked for a long time because it wasn’t so noticeable when the starting goalie, Jessie Vetter, who went to Wisconsin, had red and white pads that blended in with the red, white, and blue colors of the national team.

Jocelyne: It became more noticeable, though, when Maddie Rooney – who went to Minnesota Duluth – was playing in maroon and yellow pads. Or when Nicole Hensley wore her vintage brown pads.

Monique: Then there are the rings. Whenever the U.S. men’s junior team won a championship, they would get their championship rings within months. Not so for the women. We won six world titles for the U.S., but to this day, we only have four rings. And at one point, we only had one.

At the end of the day, our fight wasn’t about the rings. But the rings just symbolized so much of what we were dealing with – a lack of respect and a basic inequity. Today, these are things that USA Hockey is working on making right with past players and teams. Change doesn’t happen overnight; it is a process that the players and USA Hockey remain committed to working on.

Jocelyne: Growing up, I don’t think we really understood the difference between equity and equality. But when we began negotiating with USA Hockey in the lead-up to the 2017 World Championships, our negotiations were based upon wanting more equitable support as compared to the men’s team, not equal pay.

Our ask was thoughtfully developed and justified on multiple grounds. Starting with the unequal playing commitments for the men and the women. The U.S. men’s national team had a much smaller obligation than that of the U.S. women’s national team. The men play in one world championship tournament each year – and then the Olympics.

Monique: Meanwhile, the women’s team goes to camp every 6-8 weeks and plays in more games year-round. At the time, USA Hockey was paying the women only in the six-month lead-up to each Olympics.

During the other three-and-a-half years, the women were eligible for training stipends from the USOPC, which ranged from $500 to $2000 a month. These modest stipends were supposed to be for paying training expenses, but a lot of athletes used them to pay rent, make car payments, or pay whatever outstanding bills they may have had. And most of us ended up having second jobs – even while trying to train as elite Olympic athletes. This story is not unique to women’s hockey players; it is the reality for most Olympic athletes.

Arriving at the negotiating table

Jocelyne: While we were looking for more financial support so that we wouldn’t have to work a second job on top of our training obligations we were not looking for equal pay. We were focused on more equitable treatment. How the men travel is how we should travel.  If the men have a family fund, then we should have a family fund. Girls’ junior teams should be supported at the same level as boys’ junior teams.

Monique: When we started the negotiation process, we discovered that some of the inequities we were experiencing weren’t necessarily malicious. Many of them were the product of decades of history – sort of the product of inertia.

Jocelyne: In some ways, there was just a lack of awareness that we were being treated differently.

Monique: Sometimes, we would point out an inequity, and the response would almost be one of surprise and USA Hockey would want to make it right.

Jocelyne: But we had some very big gaps to close. And we quickly learned that in order to make change, you have to have tough conversations. It’s hard to step up and say critical things, and in some cases, it can also be hard to listen to such critical things. When the stakes are high, the risks that both sides are prepared to take are also high.

When we finally came to an agreement with USA Hockey in 2017, it was historic in many respects, including some of the commitments for support and for some innovative agreements, including the sport’s leading maternity leave policy.

And we’ve personally felt the impact of that agreement over the last three years. We’re the first two ice hockey players to receive the benefits of the maternity policy, which included full pay, a childcare stipend, and a guaranteed invitation to two national team camps. That made a huge difference for us. After we had kids, we wouldn’t have been able to come back had it not been for that policy.

The next frontier

Jocelyne: For too long, I think women were forced to feel grateful to have the opportunity to wear the red, white, and blue, and minimize the struggles that it takes to get there and takes to stay there. I think that’s part of the reason careers have been so short in women’s hockey.

While the situation with USA Hockey has improved since we made our first national team, there is still plenty of progress to be made in women’s hockey. Given the current landscape of the sport, players are putting off having families to compete at the Olympics. One of the key missing pieces is a real, thriving professional league for elite women players.

Monique: So that is one of our priorities. In the near future, we’re hoping that there will be a more sustainable professional women’s league that can support more than just the U.S. national team players. That way, women can continue to play with the appropriate financial support and benefits.

Jocelyne: Over the course of our careers, we’ve learned a lot. The value of focus. The importance of our teammates. The value of hard work. That it’s important to stand up for what’s right. And an unalterable belief that equitable treatment is a worthy goal. We’ve also learned that the goal of equitable treatment is worth putting everything on the line. As we say in the title of our book, you should not hesitate to dare to make history. That’s what we did.

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2022 Rivalry Series: USA extends lead to 3-0 over Canada in women’s hockey showcase

Hilary Knight #21 of Team United States reacts after scoring a shorthanded goal in the second period during the Women's Ice Hockey Gold Medal match.
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Hilary Knight had two goals and one assist to lead the U.S. women’s hockey team to a 4-2 win over Canada on Sunday, extending Team USA’s series lead to 3-0 in the seven-game 2022-23 Rivalry Series.

Savannah Harmon and Abby Roque also scored for the U.S., which has notched three consecutive wins against Canada for the first time since 2019. Goalie Nicole Hensley made 22 saves in front of a record-setting crown at Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, where fan attendance totaled 14,551.

Marie-Philip Poulin and Sarah Nurse scored for Canada, which captured gold \at both the IIHF Women’s World Championship in September and the Beijing Olympics in February.

Knight has enjoyed a standout 2022-23 Rivalry Series to date, registering six points (three goals, three assists) in the first three games including the game-winning goal in a shootout victory in Game 1 of the series on Tuesday and the game-winning assist in Game 2 on Thursday. Prior to the puck drop in Seattle on Sunday, Knight was presented with a golden stick to commemorate her record-breaking 87th career point in world championship play. Knight became the all-time points leader at the IIHF Women’s World Championship in September, when the eight-time world champion recorded one goal and one assist in Team USA’s 12-1 quarterfinal win over Hungary.

Sunday’s matchup between the U.S. and Canada marked the third game of the 2022-23 Rivalry Series and was the third matchup between the two teams in five days. The U.S. came in with a 2-0 series lead following a 2-1 victory on Thursday in Kamloops, B.C., and a 4-3 shootout victory — the first shootout in Rivalry Series history — in Kelowna, B.C., on Tuesday. It also was the first game for the U.S. national team on home soil since Dec. 17, 2021, when the team hosted Canada in St. Louis (Canada won 3-2 in overtime).

The 2022-23 Rivalry Series continues next month with two games in the U.S., set to be played in Las Vegas on Dec. 17 and Los Angeles on Dec. 19.

2022-23 Rivalry Series schedule, results

Tuesday, Nov. 15 USA 4, CAN 3 (SO) Kelowna, British Columbia NHL Network
Thursday, Nov. 17 USA 2, CAN 1 Kamloops, British Columbia NHL Network
Sunday, Nov. 20 USA 4, CAN 2 Seattle, Washington NHL Network
Thursday, Dec. 15 10 p.m. ET Henderson, Nevada NHL Network
Monday, Dec. 19 10 p.m. ET Los Angeles, California NHL Network

What is the Rivalry Series?

The Rivalry Series was introduced by USA Hockey and Hockey Canada during the 2018-19 season and designed as an annual showcase of the highest level of women’s hockey at various locations in the United States and Canada. The first series comprised three games between the two national teams, with Canada winning 2-1. Team USA took 2019-20 title, winning the expanded five-game series 4-1 and wrapping with an overtime win in the finale in front of a then-record-breaking total of 13,320 fans in Anaheim, California.

Following a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic and preparation for the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the Rivalry Series resumed this season with seven games over three months: three in November, two in December and two in February.

The U.S. and Canada have battled in the gold-medal game of six of seven Winter Olympics and 20 of 21 IIHF Women’s World Championship, with the two exceptions being the 2019 World Championship and 2006 Olympics. The Canadian women are the reigning Olympic and world champions.

2022-23 Rivalry Series rewind: USA takes Games 1-2

Game 1 recap: USA 4, CAN 3, SO (Nov. 15): The series kicked off Tuesday with Team USA grabbing a 2-0 lead off goals from Hannah Brandt and Hilary Knight. But Canada battled back with three unanswered goals and held a 3-2 lead with 13 minutes to go in the third. With just 1:29 remaining in regulation, Alex Carpenter tied it for the Americans, sending the game to overtime. The U.S. ultimately won in a shootout, with Knight and Carpenter scoring while U.S. goalie Nicole Hensley made two key saves.

Game 2 recap: USA 2, CAN 1 (Nov. 17): Canada was first to get on the board Thursday when Marie-Philip Poulin capitalized off a penalty shot opportunity in the second period, but USA’s Kendall Coyne Schofield knotted the score just 1:12 later. Alex Carpenter scored the go-ahead tally with 6:36 remaining in the third to give the U.S. a 2-1 win and a 2-0 series lead. U.S. goalie Maddie Rooney recorded 19 saves in net.

Who’s playing in the 2022-23 Rivalry Series?

Team USA’s roster — led by coach John Wroblewski — for the November Rivalry Series games features 23 players, 16 of whom were part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship in August:

  • Hannah Brandt (Vadnais Heights, Minn.)
  • Alex Carpenter (North Reading, Mass.)
  • Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.)
  • Jincy Dunne (O’Fallon, Mo.)
  • Aerin Frankel(Chappaqua, N.Y.)
  • Rory Guilday (Minnetonka, Minn.)
  • Savannah Harmon (Downers Grove, Ill.)
  • Nicole Hensley (Lakewood, Colo.)
  • Megan Keller (Farmington Hills, Mich.)
  • Amanda Kessel (Madison, Wis.)
  • Hilary Knight (Sun Valley, Idaho)
  • Kelly Pannek (Plymouth, Minn.)
  • Abby Roque (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
  • Hayley Scamurra (Getzville, N.Y.)
  • Maddie Rooney (Andover, Minn.)
  • Lee Stecklein (Roseville, Minn.).

Team Canada’s 23-player roster, selected by coach Troy Ryan and director of hockey operations Gina Kingsbury, features 16 players who were on the gold medal-winning team at the 2022 IIHF Women’s World Championship and the 2022 Beijing Olympics (Canada beat , including:

  • Erin Ambrose
  • Kristen Campbell
  • Emily Clark
  • Ann-Renée Desbiens
  • Renata Fast
  • Brianne Jenner
  • Jocelyne Larocque
  • Emma Maltais
  • Emerance Maschmeyer
  • Sarah Nurse
  • Marie-Philip Poulin
  • Jamie Lee Rattray
  • Ella Shelton
  • Laura Stacey
  • Blayre Turnbull
  • Micah Zandee-Hart

Rivalry Series history

Following Sunday’s victory, the U.S. holds a 6-2-1-2 (W-OTW-OTL-L) record over Canada all time in the Rivalry Series. Canada won the 2018-19 Rivalry Series with a 2-0-0-1 record, while the U.S. won the 2019-20 Rivalry Series with a 3-1-1-0 record.

2019-20 Rivalry Series results

Dec. 14, 2019 USA 4, CAN 1 Hartford, Connecticut Alex Cavallini
Dec. 17, 2019 USA 2, CAN 1 Moncton, N.B. Alex Carpenter
Feb. 3, 2020 CAN 3, USA 2 (OT) Victoria, B.C. Hilary Knight
Feb. 5, 2020 USA 3, CAN 1 Vancouver, B.C. Katie Burt
Feb. 8, 2020 USA 4, CAN 3 (OT) Anaheim, California Megan Bozek

2018-19 Rivalry Series results

Feb. 12 USA 1, CAN 0 London, Ontario
Feb. 14 CAN 4, USA 3 Toronto, Ontario
Feb. 17 CAN 2, USA 0 Detroit Michigan

Atthaya Thitikul takes LPGA rookie-of-year honors in stride ahead of Tour Championship

Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand smiles after the birdie on the 6th green during the second round of the TOTO Japan Classic.
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To say that Atthaya Thitikul has enjoyed a breakout rookie LPGA season is a bit of an understatement, but keeping things low-key is exactly how 19-year-old “Jeeno” likes it.

As the 2022 season concludes this week at the CME Group Tour Championship, Thitikul has already captured two LPGA titles, held the No. 1 spot in the world rankings and collected the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors. But the current world No. 2 displays a wise-beyond-her-years ethos when she says what she’s most proud of this season is her mindset.

“[I’m]19 years old — I think I’m still young to handle all the things that I have now,” Thitikul told On Her Turf ahead of this week’s season finale in Naples, Fla. “I didn’t say that I handled it well, but I’ve just said that I think I can handle it. I can do it. And yeah, it’s turned out to be pretty good this year.”

To keep herself in check, the Thailand native keeps her philosophy posted on her Instagram profile, which reads, “Be you, be happy and everything will be fine.” Thitikul, who on Oct. 31 joined 18-time LPGA winner Lydia Ko as the only players in tour history to reach No. 1 before their 20th birthday, said she took stock of poor performances on the golf course and found they all had one thing in common: She wasn’t being herself.

“I didn’t have fun,” she says of those unsatisfactory rounds. “I was expecting a lot of results on the golf course, not really talking, not really enjoying it. So I think being myself, have fun, keep smiling, keep laughing and talking with other players or talking with my caddie, joking around — I think it’s the best that I can do.”

Golf has always been fun for Thitikul, who grew up in northeast Thailand and was introduced to the sport at age 6 through her father and grandfather, both of whom were not golfers themselves but recognized the opportunity that golf might provide. Thitikul teases that her grandfather was enamored with Tiger Woods, but after her first golf experience with a professional in Bangkok, she was hooked, too.

“They asked me when I finished practicing, do I like it? And I say, ‘Yeah, I do.’ Because [there were] a lot of friends and when I practice, it seemed fun and it seemed not like other sports that I have been watching on TV,” she recalls.

Thitikul’s ascent to the top of her sport was swift: In February 2017, just three days after her 14th birthday, she made her first LPGA tournament appearance at the Honda LPGA Thailand and finished 37th out of 66 players. Just five months later, Thitikul made headlines when she became the youngest person ever to win a professional golf tour event at age 14 years, 4 months and 19 days old, winning the Ladies European Thailand Championship on the Ladies European Tour (LET).

RELATED: 2022 CME Group Tour Championship — How to watch, who’s playing in LPGA’s season finale

For three more years, Thitikul resisted turning professional, racking up multiple international amateur victories and plenty of tour experience, notching her first LPGA top-10 finish in March 2018 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship (T-8) and earning low amateur honors that same year at two majors, the ANA Inspiration (T-30) and Women’s British Open (T-64). The following year, she won the Ladies European Thailand Championship for the second time in three years, earned low amateur honors at the British Open (finishing T-29) for the second straight year and was No. 1 on the women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking.

In her first year as a pro, during the pandemic-impacted 2020 season, Thitikul broke through for her first professional win in July at the Thai LPGA Championship. She finished the season with five Thai LPGA wins and topped the money list.

Thitikul moved to the LET in 2021, winning the Czech Ladies Open in June, and just a month later she moved into the top 100 on the world rankings for the first time at No. 89. She finished 2021 with two wins, three runner-ups and nine additional top-10 finishes, securing the LET Order of Merit and Rookie of the Year titles and becoming just the fourth player to win both awards in the same season.

After finishing third at LPGA Qualifying School to earn her card for 2022, Thitikul didn’t miss a beat in her meteoric rise this season. She posted two top-10s in her first four starts before striking a staff deal with Callaway, which she followed up by winning her first LPGA title in March at the JTBC Classic. She carded an 8-under 64 in the final round to force a playoff and Nanna Koerstz Madsen on the second extra hole. She earned her second LPGA title in September at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, tying the tournament record of 61 in the second round and beating Danielle Kang in a playoff.

As for the pressure of being a teen phenom, Thitikul admits she can’t ignore it but has figured out how to turn it around to her advantage: “It’s still so hard because I think as players want to be on top and we put the pressure on ourselves, and there’s a lot of eyes on us. … But at the same time, it’s kind of like you couldn’t win every week, you couldn’t have a good day every day. It’s golf. I like to think of pressure as a challenge. I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I think of it as challenging.”

Away from the golf course, Thitikul enjoys spending time with friends, watching Korean television dramas and indulging in Asian food (Chinese and Korean are favorites). Although she doesn’t have a pet, she says she’s a dog person, and prefers the mountains to the beach, as she loves to hike.

But don’t expect too much lounging, hiking or other non-golf activities on Thitikul’s itinerary after this season wraps on Sunday.

“This offseason, we have a lot of work to do,” she says.” There are a lot of things I still have to learn – not just for next year but for [beyond.] … But hopefully next year, it’s going to be nice and good for me as well. I really want to have a major win in my career. I don’t know if it’s going to happen next year, but hopefully.”