On Feb. 22, 2018, Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson struck a blow for U.S. hockey, scoring the winning shootout goal to give the Americans a thrilling, 3-2 victory over Canada in the gold medal game in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Now, she’s trying to strike a different blow for women’s hockey in the hopes of bringing about a better future. Lamoureux-Davidson is on the board of directors for the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association, which includes players who aren’t participating in the National Women’s Hockey League this season in hopes of bringing about a more financially stable league. The former North Dakota star represents the Minnesota region, one of nine in the association.
“We feel like North America does not have a viable professional option for women’s hockey, so we feel like we need to have a collective voice,’’ Lamoureux-Davidson said in a recent phone interview.
While the NWHL gears up with six teams and an expanded 24-game schedule that begins Oct. 12, the PWHPA – which consists of top U.S. and Canadian Olympians, plus some Europeans – opts for the Dream Gap Tour, a four-team event that features 80 players and begins Friday through Sunday in Toronto. Other tour stops include Hudson, N.H., and Chicago in October.
“It’s called the Dream Gap Tour for a reason – so little girls can have the same dreams as boys,’’ Lamoureux-Davidson said. “Hopefully, it’ll close that gap – not just for girls who dream about playing in the Olympics but who also have professional aspirations and something they can aspire to do outside the national team.’’
The tour doesn’t yet have a Minnesota stop scheduled. Among the players in the Minnesota region are Olympians Hannah Brandt, Dani Camarenisi, Kendall Coyne Schofield, Lee Stecklein and Lamoureux-Davidson and twin sister Monique Lamoureux-Morando.
Garnering attention and support are among the goals the players association hopes to accomplish with the tour. Lamoureux-Davidson sees the potential with women’s hockey – if people get behind it.
“There’s a cultural shift going on around women’s sports and trying to get women’s sports in more homes and on TV and marketing it more,’’ she said. “If you put marketing money behind women’s sports and athletes, we feel that will help drive viewership and drive fan-ship. You can’t put zero dollars behind women’s sports and expect it to be equal to what the men are creating.’’
Getting those dollars and support, of course, is the sticking point. The fight is worth it, the 30-year-old Lamoureux-Davidson said, even if a new league comes after her playing days.
“We all believe it’s going to happen and happen soon,’’ she said. “That’s why I’m proud to be a part of it. I’m one of those players who might not get to play in the league, but I’m proud to be in this association and help move the ball forward for women’s hockey.’’