A big-time hockey family
Flames goalie has five siblings playing hockey at high levels
That's something the Lamoureux family can say: They have a goalie, three forwards and two defencemen in their household. All of them play or played at an elite level -- in the pros, in junior and in college. Even the recent Olympics.
Needless to say, there was no shortage of hockey for Jean-Philippe Lamoureux, the oldest sibling, growing up as a kid in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
And it was probably determined early what position he would play as his grandparents gave him a rubber goalie stick to play with in his crib.
Lamoureux, 25, recently signed an American Hockey League deal with the Calgary Flames, and is attending the Flames development camp in Calgary.
Going through the family hockey tree takes some time but the communications graduate from the University of North Dakota has no problem running through what his brothers and sisters are doing.
Jacques, a forward, is a senior playing for Air Force in the NCAA. Twin sisters Jocelyne and Monique, also forwards, are sophmore's on the women's team at North Dakota and recently played for Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics. Brother Pierre-Paul, a defenceman, played three years for the Red Deer Rebels and is now a volunteer assistant coach at North Dakota while brother Mario, also a defenceman, is a junior at North Dakota.
That North Dakota history started when his father, Pierre, left Edmonton and made the Fighting Sioux as a walk-on and then led the team to two national titles.
"I guess you could say he was a blue collar goalie," said Jean-Philippe following his first workout as a Flame at development camp Monday. "He was a walk-on. He earned the respect of his teammates and was a four-year letterman and a part of two national championships so it was special to him."
Following in his father's path, Lamoureux helped North Dakota get to the Frozen Four in all four of his years at the school -- two as a back-up and two more as a starter. Following his collegiate career he signed with St. Louis and helped their ECHL affiliate to the Kelly Cup finals and was named ECHL goalie of the year. Last season he was with the Portland Pirates, the AHL affiliate of the Buffalo Sabres.
And now he is with the Flames and showing a never-say-quit attitude that he has shown throughout his career. At 5'10" it's tough to crack the pros as a goalie.
"I would certainly like to be a No. 1 in the AHL. I understand it is going to be a battle for me," he said. "But that is nothing new. I'm undersized and I have been an overachiever all my while career. I have to keep doing that to get jobs. Slowly but surely I am moving up the ladder."
It runs in the family, apparently. From an early age all six kids were skating on the frozen English Coulee in Grand Forks. They are all close in age -- J.P. is the oldest -- and they all support each other. Just prior to coming to Calgary, all six were back home in Grand Forks working out together.
"I just think everyone is strong-willed with their goals and have a strong work ethic," said Lamoureux of the family hockey success. "They understand their roles on their teams. If you look at the family everyone is a different players. Everyone has a quality asset."
Growing up in Canada there have been some hockey families -- The Sutter clan in Alberta, the Staals in Ontario, for example. But in the United States? Well, that's a little different.
"I don't think this is out of the ordinary for a Canadian family. We grew up playing pond hockey on a pond across from the house. Love of the game spurred us on," said Lamoureux, whose idol growing up was Ed Belfour, also a UND grad. "We are all pretty close in age so everyone had a playmate so that helped. In the summer is was street hockey and other sports. In the winter it was pond hockey and travel hockey."
For Lamoureux, the journey continues and the dream of playing in the NHL never dies.
"For a small goalie to make the NHL, you have to overachieve," he said. " I am prepared to put in the work and that effort. I just pay my dues and keep chipping away."
With a little help from his hockey family, no doubt.