BOSTON -- In the midst of a demanding grind of preparing for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux, and the U.S. National Women’s Team haven't lost sight of the proverbial “bigger picture.”
At opening night of The Time is Now Tour, presented by Toyota, in Boston, the first of at least four meetings on the tour between the United States and Canada leading up to the Games, the team welcomed accomplished guests of the Snider Youth Hockey Foundation.
Clad in distinctive orange and white uniforms, the 10 girls watched pregame warmups from the home team’s bench. Their palatable joy: a culmination of toil by the Lamoureux twins and their teammates along with a passionate group of Snider volunteers and staff.
“In the spring, [the U.S. National Women’s Team] had come out for a practice, and that was an exciting time for us, and after [that] they casually mentioned that they were playing a game in Boston and that we may be able to come and watch them play,” said Snider Hockey Coordinator Casey Kilduff. “A few weeks ago, we got a call from Jocelyne and she let us know that we would be able to bring a couple of girls up, meet the players, watch a game and spend the day with the team. This has been a whirlwind the past three weeks in getting it all together, but it's been really exciting and we’re all happy to be a part of it all.”
Late Philadelphia Flyers Chairman Ed Snider created the eponymous Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation in 2005 in hopes of providing “at-risk” Philadelphia area youth with a myriad of opportunities in education and the sport of hockey, with a vision of “building lives and uniting communities.”
Eighty-five percent of Snider Hockey high school seniors have made the leap to a post-secondary institution. Nearly 1,600 students have enrolled in the foundation’s After School Excellence Program.
“These are opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have,” said Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson. “Doing our event last year, we were able to see where a lot of them come from and realized they don’t get the chances that a lot of us on the hockey team have had. To have that type of impact on young women is pretty special. It’s about doing something bigger than ourselves; above playing hockey.”
The genesis of the involvement with Snider came about from an association with Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol; a friend of the Lamoureux family.
“It’s pretty amazing what the Snider Hockey Foundation has done in their community,” said Monique Lamoureux-Morando, who along with her twin sister has played in more than 100 games together for the U.S. “Ed Snider has been able to reach so many kids and families, obviously lasting beyond his lifetime. The impact of having the kids just come to our games goes beyond that.”
The student-athletes toured the Boston University campus as well as various locations in the city of Boston during their three-day stay in Massachusetts.
“Those are things that they will remember for a lifetime,” Lamoureux-Morando said.
Kilduff, a former captain at Neumann University, alluded to the emotive nature of the gesture, “Sure, it’s emotional. I coach these girls three times a week, I see them all of the time. They’re excited to be here and just to see them be involved with the players I myself looked up to is amazing. It’s a full cycle of role models.”
Kilduff sees the immersion in a world-class setting both on and off the ice as having enduring, positive effects for her students. “They understand that this is a special situation that a lot of people don’t get to take advantage of,” she said.
“We threw this out to our teammates, told them how important this was and they embraced it at once,” Lamoureux-Morando said, also acknowledging a personal responsibility to aid in growing the game.
“This is something we’re proud to do and we’re both proud of our team and the partnership we created with Snider,” she said. “It’s had a snowball effect with our team chipping in. The Women’s Sports Foundation caught wind, and they funded a couple of girls to go and watch our teammates accept the award our team received last week, so it’s gotten much bigger than just the two of us trying to help out.”
Story from Red Line Editorial, Inc.