GRAND FORKS, ND — "Don't mention the Sedins."
That was our mantra before speaking with Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, U.S. Olympic silver medalists and senior stars for the University of North Dakota. It's the inevitable, clichéd comparison that befalls every pair of hockey twins.
It's not even applicable in their case. The Lamoureux's aren't carbon copies like the Vancouver Canucks' Swedes. While both can play forward, Monique Lamoureux has been featured on defense for UND. Also, they're not totally creepy.
What they are: The spawn of Pierre and Linda Lamoureux of Grand Forks, two of six children that have gone on to play collegiate hockey. The family was featured in a memorable 2010 article by Gary Smith in Sports Illustrated, which chronicled how Jocelyne and Monique honed their hockey skills by competing with their ruthless (on the ice, at least) brothers.
We caught up with the Lamoureux twins, 23, in Grand Forks last week, discussing the 2014 Sochi Games, their rivalry with Team Canada, hockey idols and social media. (Our discussion about the end of the Fighting Sioux nickname will appear in a later piece.
But first, a bit about a prank war with the men's team …
Q. We've been trying to get a sense of the dynamic between the men's and women's teams on campus.
Monique: [Laughs] There's a bit of a prank war going on at the moment.
Jocelyne: We haven't really taken part in one …
You national teamers have to stay above the fray. Got it.
Jocelyne: [Laughs] I think we're winning it. But I know Mary's [Loken] car was filled with leaves.
Monique: She leaves her keys in the car, so they took it and moved it. And when she found it, they had filled it up with leaves all the way to the [roof].
Jocelyne: But [the women players] put two cans of sardines in one of the guys' cars. Just, like, stuffed them in the cushions. They were trying to air out the car last night. It's like marinated in there.
Monique: [The prank] we did last night was similar to 'Billy Madison'.
Flaming bag of poop?
Where does one get the poop?
Monique and Jocelyne: [In near unison] Dog.
With the men's team, it's been described to me that the women's games can be a chance to watch hockey at the Ralph for fans that can't get into see the men. What's the fan culture like between the two teams? Separate fan bases?
Monique: Ours is more of a family environment. But when we're both playing at home, we play before them. They do priority seating, where if you come early for the women's game you get to keep your seat for the men's game. So they can pregame at our game …
Are you happy with the level of promotion for the women's games?
Jocelyne: You don't really have to promote the men's games. Everyone knows when they're at home.
I think, with our sport and other sports on campus, if you don't advertise for it people aren't going to look up and see when we play. Promotion definitely helps.
Monique: I attribute it to that she got on Twitter about two or three weeks before I did.
So you're saying that you're better at Twitter than she is, but that she just had a head start?
Monique: Possibly. Who has more tweets?
I did not check that.
Jocelyne: I'm sure I have less. But mine have more substance to them.
I use Twitter for fun a lot of the time, but also for getting info. Like I found out my brother in Austria is leading the league in save percentage and goals against. I did not know that until someone tweeted it. There's someone that also tweets out all the stats for Sioux alumni every day. Sometimes I find out stuff like that through someone else before having to look it up.
Monique: It's a great way to support your sport and interact with the fans. But sometimes it can go the other way when people don't say responsible things. I like it better than Facebook though.
If you had to choose one alumnus from the men's team to play with, who would it be?
Monique: Since I play 'D' sometimes, Matt Greene [of the Los Angeles Kings].
Somewhere, Mike Commodore weeps.
Monique: Well, I … he's a little past his prime, though! He's a little past his prime. He's a big guy. Never really has to get up to full speed.
Jocelyne: If we're going old school, I'm going to go with the Hrkac Circus [a.k.a. Tony Hrkac]. But more present day … Johnny Toews probably. Can't go wrong there. I can play wing. Although if you want flashy, maybe T.J. Oshie.
Who did you look up to growing up as far as hockey idols?
Jocelyne: We'd watch NHL games and watch our brothers play. I don't know if there was any one person, but we knew what kind of players we wanted to be. We wanted to be the players that everyone hated to play against but they'd be the first ones that'd say they want you on their team.
As I've gotten older, I've really liked how Zetterberg plays. Just really tough, gritty.
Monique: If you were to talk to our dad, and if you were to know all of our brothers, and the types of players they were, I think we're kind of a mix of all of them, and that makes us the players that we are today. One of our brothers played 'D', another was a goal scorer, Mario was a third-line grinder that gets in your face. We have little bits and pieces of each of them — like our dad's temper.
Zetterberg's a great player. So is Datsyuk. As an organization, I love the Red Wings and what they stand for, and the passion that they have. Their best players work the hardest.
Reading that SI piece, your hockey background doesn't seem typical for women's players: Competing against your brothers, playing street hockey with an edge. Is that more common for women's players today that we think?
Jocelyne: We grew up in a unique family with four older brothers playing the same sport. We didn't really do any girly things.
There are girls on the national team that played with the boys. We might have stuck with it maybe a year or two longer than most girls do.
Monique: You can tell when you watch girls play, which ones grew up playing boys hockey. In practice, if someone gets knocked over, you have girls that will ask 'oh, are you OK?' The ones that played against boys don't say anything. It doesn't faze them. It's part of the game.
Growing up playing street hockey, I remember going into the house and crying because one of our brothers did something to us. Our mom would just say, 'That's what you get for playing with the boys.'
Our games would usually end with Pierre-Paul elbowing somebody, Jacques hurting somebody by slashing him or Phil breaking all the goalie sticks. That's usually how they ended.
You're both seniors; what happens after you graduate?
Jocelyne: Well, there's no pro league.
Monique: Yeah there is.
Jocelyne: OK, but there's no pro league where you make money. That's not your fulltime job. Almost all the postgrad players are up on Boston right now. We have kinda a year-and-a-half plan right now.
How do elite women's hockey players view the NHL lockout?
Jocelyne: It's all relative. If you're in that position, you might do the same thing.
Monique: But there are a lot of players that live paycheck to paycheck. If they go play overseas or play in the East Coast [League], they're criticized for taking someone's job.
Sochi in 2014; are you excited?
Jocelyne: Very. That's the big goal that's over here [points with her hands]. Right now we're focused on our college season, but that's the ultimate goal. You're preparing every weekend for a college season, but it's always there.
Monique: Our ultimate goal, as well as our team's, is to win a gold medal. You can't show up in the summer and just start working towards a gold medal. If started three years ago after we lost. We were at dinner [as a team] the night we lost in the gold medal game, and we said, 'We're going to win a gold medal next time. We're going to do whatever it takes.'
Jocelyne: We have a good leadership group, I think. Canada's doing everything they can too. That's their goal as well.
You have dual citizenship. Does that prevent you from totally hating Canada?
Monique: [Laughs] No, not really. My dad's whole side of the family still lives in Canada.
So when you win, what comes out first: the Magnums of Molson or the cigars?
Monique: [Laughs] I hate beer, so probably something else. But probably a cigar for me. I love cigars.
Jocelyne: [The Canadian players] got a lot of flack for that. We would have done the same thing. And if it was guys, they would have been laughing about it.
(Ed. Note: In the spirit of full disclosure, I was in Grand Forks for an arts and culture conference at the University of North Dakota, where I appeared as a panelist and speaker. I was compensated for the appearance by the conference organizers, which did not include the athletic department. I did some hockey reporting away from the conference, and will publish three pieces on the former Fighting Sioux in the coming days.)