College Hockey:
In Lamoureux twins, North Dakota has program-building talent

Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux-Kolls have helped coach Brian Idalski turn the Fighting Sioux into a top-10 team.

There is a new player on the women’s college hockey scene, North Dakota, but its leading faces are familiar ones.

Led by sophomore twins and Grand Forks, N.D., natives Jocelyne Lamoureux and Monique Lamoureux-Kolls, who transferred back home from Minnesota, the Fighting Sioux have stormed into the national tournament picture.

“We thought by transferring back home that it was an opportunity to kind of put the Fighting Sioux on the map,” Monique Lamoureux-Kolls said. “We saw it as a challenge and an opportunity for us to really put a stamp on the program.”

Monique Lamoureux-Kolls celebrates with North Dakota teammates. (Ryan Coleman/Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com)

Monique Lamoureux-Kolls and North Dakota have had plenty to celebrate this season (photo: Ryan Coleman, d3photography.com).

And put a stamp they have. At the December break, North Dakota (9-7-2, 8-6-2 WCHA) is ranked ninth in the country and currently sits in third place in the WCHA with 26 points. It is unfamiliar ground for a program that has never won more than 13 games or finished higher than sixth since joining the league in 2004-05.

“Coming back here was a special opportunity for us,” Jocelyne Lamoureux said. “Knowing where coach [Brian] Idalski wanted to take this program, we felt like we could play a big part in the turnaround.”

That turnaround started after the ultimate low point for the program during the 2006-07 season. That year, the Fighting Sioux hit rock bottom, making a coaching change mid-season and finishing with zero WCHA wins.

North Dakota’s instability made the Lamoureux twins’ original recruiting choice an easy one, despite the urge to play for their hometown school.

“When we were making our initial decision, we were looking at Minnesota and Wisconsin,” Jocelyne said. “North Dakota wasn’t in the mix because of the transition the program was going through and [the unstable] coaching situation. It wasn’t where we wanted to be with our goal being to try to make the Olympic team after our freshman year.”

As freshmen at Minnesota, the twins led the Golden Gophers to a first-place finish in the WCHA in 2008-09. Jocelyne and Monique finished one-two on the team in scoring with 75 and 65 points, respectively.

Meanwhile, back at Grand Forks, Idalski began sowing the seeds of a philosophical shift during his second season coaching North Dakota.

“We really tried to change the way we approached everything,” said Idalski, who guided the Fighting Sioux to a 13-win campaign in 2008-2009. “We brought in a bunch of character kids who had a very solid work ethic, but we still needed to get a couple of elite players to buy into what we were trying to do and to buy into North Dakota as a program.”

Idalski’s changes were enough for the Lamoureuxs to take notice. As they were busy earning spots on Team USA during the summer of 2009, the twins made the decision to take their games back home.

“We hadn’t really thought about [transferring] until we got home for the summer,” Monique said. “It wasn’t like we were unhappy at Minnesota, but we thought that we needed a change.”

That change was for the twins to head back to school where their family has had an incredible dynasty. Father Jean-Pierre played for the Fighting Sioux from 1979 to 1982. Monique and Jocelyne’s oldest brother Philippe played at North Dakota from 2004 to 2008. Finally, brother Mario, who is a year older than the twins, is a junior forward on the Fighting Sioux men’s hockey team.

Therefore, Monique and Jocelyne took some good natured ribbing when they originally chose rival Minnesota instead of UND.

“When we were at Minnesota, our brothers were happy for us, but they would poke fun at us a little bit,” Jocelyne said. “[However,] I think it was a surprise when one of us had the opportunity to come back here, that we both decided to make that choice to play for the Fighting Sioux.”

North Dakota's Jocelyne Lamoureux (Scott Pierson/Scott Pierson, d3photography.com)

Jocelyne Lamoureux leads North Dakota in goals and points (photo: Scott Pierson, d3photography.com).

The choice has been a productive one so far for the twins, who each rank in the top 25 in the country in points. Jocelyne leads the Fighting Sioux with 16 goals and 24 points, while Monique leads the team with 13 assists and is second in points with 21.

Idalski has been pushing the pair to play at a level that will make his whole team improve.

“From day one when they got here, they’ve led by example with their work ethic and their tenacity, but they’re also not afraid to be coached or to be given ways to get better,” Idalski said. “During games they draw the attention of other teams, freeing up some of our other kids to face better matchups and be in situations where they can thrive.”

And thrive North Dakota has, despite a schedule that featured the country’s toughest start with an opening six-game stretch that featured Boston University, Minnesota-Duluth and Minnesota. The Fighting Sioux beat current No. 3 Boston University, swept No. 7 Minnesota and now have two wins over No. 5 Minnesota-Duluth.

“We knew if we could come out of those six games at least at .500, we would set up ourselves pretty good for the rest of the season,” Monique said. “Playing that at 4-2 really surpassed many people’s expectations and I think people are starting to see that our team is really on the upswing.”

That upswing allowed the North Dakota women’s hockey program to start getting noticed in a place known for its tradition and success in college hockey, but only on the men’s side.

“The men’s program has had a winning tradition forever, but it’s good to see that the women’s team has turned the tide,” Mario Lamoureux said. “They want a winning attitude as well. They don’t want all the glory here to be only about the men.”

Trying to establish that level of success with the women’s program is a challenge Monique Lamoureux relishes.

“[Growing up here in Grand Forks], you can see that tradition and the pride that everybody takes with the men’s team,” Monique said. “We want to help build that with the women’s team. We want to add to that North Dakota hockey tradition and play well for what it stands for.”

Jocelyne Lamoureux is just proud wearing the Fighting Sioux uniform, the one with the familiar last name on the back.

“When you grow up in Grand Forks, you see that the community here is all about the hockey program here at North Dakota,” Jocelyne said. “The Fighting Sioux name and the school’s hockey tradition is something special. It means a lot to put that jersey on every night.”

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  • TJFan

    Why doesn’t their brother Jacques (a Hobey Baker Finalist) not get a mention?.

    • LtPowers

      Because they were specifically calling out Lamoureux who have played for NoDak.

  • http://twitter.com/crb1 crb1

    We are so proud of the Lamoureaux twins and wish them nothing but success. We were really happy to have them come play for their hometown team. Sky is the limit for this program.

  • Rinkpig

    wow, women’s hockey. on the same par as ringet. i know a bar league team of 40 yr. old guy’s who could beat any women’s team around. just look at the USA women’s team when they went to warroad and lost to a bunch of high school kids, playing by women’s rule, no checking.

    • Scrapper

      Hey Rinkpig, if you don’t like women’s hockey, why are you reading about it? Find something else to do; no one is interested in your negative attitude.

      • Ice Queen

        You got that right!

    • Ice Queen

      You are unusally ignorant. There is a place you can go to for help. It’s called getting educated. I would like to see those 40 year old alcoholic, fat gutted blow holes on the ice. It would be worth the huge laugh.

    • hockeyhockeyhockey

      rinkpig is an idiot, i bet our local 12-u girls team could skate circles around him and any other 40yr old bar league team…lay off the suds

    • Johnson

      they actually beat that team in Warroad, might want to get your facts straight.

      • Rinkpig

        johnson: actually, you might want to get your facts right. WARROAD WON 2-1. you should look it before coming hear and shooting your mouth off!!!!!!!!!!!

  • hockeyhockeyhockey

    rinkpig is an idiot, i bet our local 12-u girls team could skate circles around him and any other 40yr old bar league team…lay off the suds

  • Chrisgal

    Nothing about not honoring their commitment to Minnesota?

  • Goaltender30

    Nobody has any right to talk down on UND’s team. Parizek, Ney just to name a few of the somebodys that are making themselves somebodys in the world of ncaa hockey…. if u dont know dont comment please! Ya the twins are the bomb and mean alot to this program, but u cannot dog on the Idalski or anybody (My Swedin floor hockey coach peter who is the coolest guy and most practical one you would have ever met) that has put in the heart, sweat, and tears that goes along with Sioux hockey.. Our program is more than wins. I believe all players if not the fans themselves believe in the Pride that is and always will be THE SIOUX NATION With that, you may believe or think whatever you want, but the Sioux are searching for a kill. Whether it be varment gophers,badgers, or bulldos. We will see our locker room tear and rebuild until a NEW banner is hung…..

  • Rinkpig

    i can’t believe there are people here defending women’s hockey. have you ever watched it??? the only thing worse is…….., i can’t think of anything worse. and anybody who would even think that women can play with men, on the same level, are IGNORANT. any group of middle aged former hockey players will beat a women’s team everyday of the week and twice on sunday’s!!!!

    • Teeder11

      You sound a lot like Bobby Riggs (ala Billie Jean King). Look it up on Wiki. Oh, hell, I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version… Bobby got his butt whooped by a girl.

    • Shacker

      You truly are a clueless loser.I would love for my daughter to skate circles around your sorry fat ass.

  • Rinkpig

    sorry shaker, i am neither clueless or a loser. just calling it like i see it. no one else has the balls to say what is true, but me!! i too would love to see your daughter TRY to skate circles around me!!!!! that is funny ha ha ha

    • Teeder11

      Yeah, you are sooo ballsy, Stinkpig. First, your facts are wrong and it’s been pointed out on this board, second, I would put my money on the Sioux women without the twins against a whole team of chumps like you, and then double down. Maybe your mom can help you lace up your double runners before you wobble out to face off. The puck would be in your net before you could steady yourself enough so as to not use your stick as a crutch! Big talker, B.S. walker.

      • Rinkpig

        sorry to you too teeder. what facts are wrong??? i am just stating the obvious. you people obviously have little girls trying to play a mans game. take off the rose colored glasses and see it for what it is. you can slam me all you want, but i have forgotten more about hockey than you will ever know!! and i know it is meant for MEN!!!!!

        • Teeder11

          Whaddaya mean? Sorry to burst your ego bubble. I’ve been playing since I was a four-year-old growing up in southern Alberta, all the way through club hockey in prep school and then in college at Bottineau, N.D. I mean for God’s sake, I’ve played with and against guys who are in the NHL now. (i.e. Dustin Penner). So, if you ever wanna go one-on-one when it comes to hockey knowledge, bring it on! And since you know so much about me, you’re wrong on the motive for calling out your chauvinistic stupidity. My girls all play basketball, and they have no illusions of beating a comparable boys team in basketball. But, since when are the merits of sports judged by whether the girls can beat the boys at it? Since when does a girls sport only become legit when it can beat a boys team(at any level)? No one ever compares my girls basketball team to boys basketball. Your logic is plain dumb on this one.

          • Shacker

            Well said Teeder11.I have coached the game for oveer 25 years and of those over 20 coaching boys teams.Now I am coaching a girls high school team and yes it would be asinine for my team to take on our boys team. What would be the point. This rinkpig dude must be a real joy to around. I have the feeling he thinks his shyt don’t stink.

    • Shacker

      Name the time and place me boy.

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