With everyone gearing up for the World Junior Championship in Edmonton, I took some time this week to finish reading a book I kept chipping away at when I first received it. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to read this book – quite the opposite, in fact! – but I kept finding myself busy with other stuff. With the holidays upon us, though, I made some time and committed myself to finishing the read as Teebz’s Book Club is proud to review Dare to Make History: Chasing a Dream and Fighting for Equity, written by Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando, and published by the Radius Book Group. As you likely know, the Lamoureux twins have been thorns in the sides of Team Canada since they burst onto the international hockey scene, so getting an opoortunity to learn about Jocelyne and Monique in their own words was one I could not turn down.
As one-half of the twin Lamoureux sisters, Jocelyne is the free-wheeling forward of the pair who starred with Shattuck St. Mary’s and the University of North Dakota before bursting onto the scene with the US National Team. Among the pile of personal awards she has won, her and Monique were part of seven World Championship American teams, a number of silver medal-winning Team US Olympic teams, and she put her name in the history books with her shootout goal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games that won Team US their first Olympic women’s hockey gold medal since 1998! Jocelyne was also an instrumental part of the historic USA Hockey deal with the women’s national team that saw the players named to the team receive more equitable resources dedicated to the team. Jocelyne lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota with her husband, Brent, and son, Nelson.
Monique Lamoureux is one-half of the Lamoureux twin sisters, and she’s the defender of the two who, occasionally, plays forward on the opposite wing from Jocelyne. She attended both Shattuck St Mary’s and the University of North Dakota where he efforts put her on the map for Team USA, and her and Jocelyne were part of seven World Championship American teams where they captured six gold medals and one silver medal as well as being part of several silver medal-winning USA Olympic Teams. Monique also added her name to international hockey lore when she scored the tying the goal against Canada late in the third period on a breakaway! Similar to Jocelyne, Monique was a driving force in getting a deal with Hockey USA that saw more equitable resources dedicated to the team now and in the future. Monique lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota with her husband, Anthony, and her son, Mickey.
I likely won’t be the only Canadian who tells you that I have a small part of me who simply hates seeing the Lamoureux sisters lining up opposite Team Canada. As you read through Dare to Make History, you’ll find out that the twins never set out to be public enemies in Canada, but that they could have been skating for the red-and-white had a few things worked out differently! In knowing this fact, though, it made me want to read more about these two amazing women!
Jocelyne and Monique take you through their childhood, growing up as the youngest siblings of four brothers, playing on boys’ teams and putting up with the relentless amount of insults and taunting they faced, and excelling where the boys either couldn’t or wouldn’t. They would find their way to Shattuck St. Mary’s where they joined a program rounding into form as a national powerhouse, and they helped SSM find an immense amount of success as both Jocelyne and Monique found their own ways in the world.
Would it surprise you in knowing that the University of North Dakota, where the Lamoureux family had made a name for itself, wasn’t the first place the twins played university hockey? That honour goes to one of UND’s archrivals in the University of Minnesota! I won’t explain how or why they transferred from Minnesota to North Dakota – that’s in the book! – but it’s pretty clear that the addition of the Lamoureux twins to the Fighting Sioux program elevated it immediately, leading to more amazing things for the university program.
If there was one part of Dare to Make History I was hoping that Jocelyne and Monique would allow readers to access, it was the negotiations and the behind-the-scenes look at the negotiations between Hockey USA and the US women when it came to their fight for more equitable treatment. I can say that not only did Jocelyne and Monique talk about this, but they were quite detailed about all matters that were involved in this situation, making for a very thorough telling of what transpired. Honestly, I appreciated Jocelyne’s and Monique’s story they told, but this portion – from the initial player meetings right down to the boycott they threatened – was so well-written and detailed that this part alone would be worth the price of the book!
One of the more puzzling moments came after the World Championship win in Michigan as the US Olympic roster was being finalized. Both Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux were scratched for the entire Four Nations Cup, leading some to question their health or fitness or perhaps this being punishment by USA Hockey for leading the charge for equitable treatment. Monique Lamoureux writes,
“Jocelyne and I didn’t play the entire tournament. Obviously, something had changed between the coaches and us; we just didn’t know what or why. We weren’t injured. We didn’t receive any feedback that indicated we were playing poorly. No explanations were provided. We were simply scratched from the lineup for an entire tournament.”
Jocelyne adds her own thoughts a few pages later, writing,
“To this day, we have zero explanation as to why the way we were treated changed so drastically. We approached every single day like it was a make-or-break day at tryouts. We knew everything we did was being wacthed and judged, and that we had to be ‘on’ at all times, which was something we had to accept and deal with, even if by some chance we were wrong and the coaches didn’t have us under a microscope.”
Reading this chapter in Dare to Make History took me back to Sami Jo Small’s experiences with Team Canada in The Role I Played, and I’m really starting to wonder how the national team programs in both countries have been able to play these mindgames with players for so long without being called out for this. If the intention was to make the Lamoureux sisters better for Pyeongchang, I suppose the end justified the means, but this seems like a cruel way to push an elite athlete to be better.
Overall, Dare to Make History was a very enjoyable read about two women who I started off disliking because of what they seemed to do to Canada every time they played against the red-and-white, but I find myself in a different place after finishing the Lamoureux sisters’ story because I found myself empathizing with them. I’m proud to say that I don’t hold any dislike them any longer, and I actually have a greater respect for them based on all they’ve accomplished of which I wasn’t aware. Combined with the autobiographical nature of the book to go along with the hockey stories, Dare to Make History is definitely worthy of a gold medal and absolutely deserving of the Teebz’s Book Club Seal of Approval!
I do want to thank Radius Book Group for allowing me to review an advance copy of Dare to Make History, so please don’t go searching bookstores for the Lamoureux twins’ book just yet. The reported release day for the book will be February 23, 2021, so please pre-order through your local bookstore or through Radius Book Group itself so you can receive your copy of Dare to Make History as soon as possible! Based on the situations in the book, I would recommend Dare to Make History to all readers, especially girls and young women who might want a greater understanding of what the USA boycott threat at the World Championship means for them as they make their ways through the USA Hockey system!
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!