February 25, 2010

For Pirates' goalie, hockey's a family affair

PAUL BETIT

— By

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Jack Milton/Staff Photographer: Portland Pirates goalie Jean-Philippe Lamoureux deflects a shot Friday, November 20, 2009, during a home game agains the Worcester Sharks.

Jack Milton

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Staff Writer

While growing up in Grand Forks, N.D., Portland Pirates goalie J.P. Lamoureux never had trouble finding someone to play hockey.

The oldest of Pierre and Linda Lamoureux's six children, all he had to do was seek out his siblings.

''We would spend hours upon hours playing shinny games,'' he said. ''You would be working on your skills. But you were not really going out there for the purpose of trying to get better. We were just going out there to have fun.''

Less than five years of age separate the Lamoureux children.

During the winter months, every one of them would play hockey on the English Coulee, a frozen pond across the street from their house. In the warmer weather, all six would play street hockey in the driveway.

''I would watch from the house, and sometimes I felt like I was a referee,'' said Linda Lamoureux by phone from her home in Grand Forks. ''But I'd try to let them work out their squabbles within reason. They're all alive and they survived.''

Indeed, all have thrived playing the game responsible for bringing their parents together. The couple met while Pierre Lamoureux, who is from Alberta, played goalie for the University of North Dakota, helping the Fighting Sioux win NCAA Division I national championships in 1980 and 1982.

In his second pro season, J.P. Lamoureux, 25, has compiled a 5-4-1 record with a 2.75 goals-against average for the Pirates. The backup to Jhonas Enroth when the season began, he's started the last four games, allowing a total of seven goals.

Last season, Jacques Lamoureux, 23, a forward who plays for the Air Force Academy, was among the nation's leading scorers in Division I.

After a shoulder injury forced him to give up the game while he was playing for the University of Alberta, Pierre Paul Lamoureux, 22, serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the Fighting Sioux.

Mario Lamoureux, 21, is a defenseman in his second season at North Dakota.

Twins Monique and Jocelyne, 20, are forwards on the U.S. national team. Both hope to play in the Olympics in Vancouver next February.

Although each has found their niche in hockey, none was forced by their parents to play the game.

''It's a myth that all we did was play hockey growing up,'' said J.P. Lamoureux. ''We were a seasonal family. When it was winter time, it was hockey. When spring and summer time came, it was soccer and tennis. In the fall, it was football and soccer again. My sisters even had more activities -- gymnastics and dancing.''

The Pirates goalie believes he got a lot from playing different sports.

''The more sports you play growing up it kind of helps you to become an all-around better athlete,'' he said. ''It makes you a more well-rounded person. You learn how to develop relationships and how to work as a team and make friends. I think it makes for a good upbringing, a good childhood.''

But hockey is king in Grand Forks.

''We all love hockey, and a lot of it has to do with where we grew up,'' he said. ''We live in Grand Forks. That's the home of the Fighting Sioux. People expect national championships and they develop good players there.''

Before turning pro, Lamoureux played four seasons for UND.

The Lamoureux twins say they really benefited from playing hockey with their older brothers.

''Growing up with four older brothers, we wanted to do everything they did, wanted to tag along with them, and they didn't want us to play with them unless we did the best we could,'' said Monique Lamoureux, speaking by phone while with the national team in New Hampshire. ''We learned to be competitive at a very young age.''

''The thing our parents tried to teach us was accountability and work ethic,'' said J.P. Lamoureux. ''It's not about statistics. It's more (about) doing all that you can so you can feel good about yourself.''

These days, the Lamoureuxs are seldom together. But they keep in touch.

''With the age we live in, the technology really helps,'' he said. ''I don't think a day goes by where I'm not in touch with one of my siblings to see how they're doing.''

''We're always checking scores and texting each other,'' Monique Lamoureux said. ''Everyone knows what's going on.''

Hockey helps keep the family together.

''It seems the longer we've been apart, the closer we've become,'' she said.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

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