Feature photo by Teri Di-Lauro
Jocelyne Larocque was already an Olympic Champion – the first Aboriginal female to play hockey for Canada on the world’s biggest stage – before 2018 began.
“It’s a huge honour to represent Canada as a Métis woman on the Olympic stage – and in the CWHL! I’m hoping that I can pave the way for future indigenous children,” said Larocque. “I want everyone – no matter race, gender, sexual identity – to dream big and know that with hard work, dedication, and belief, anything is possible.”
With the new year came the announcement that Larocque was named an alternate captain for the 2018 Olympic squad headed to PyeongChang. At the time, former teammate Dania Simmonds said, “It’s a no-brainer. Jocelyne is the epitome of what a leader should be, and we’re proud to see our captain as one of the players leading our country’s team.”
Going on to capture silver for Canada, Larocque returned to the Markham Thunder and got right back into running her business mere days after returning from the Olympics.
“Jocelyne is not only a role model for younger females who want to be successful business people or athletes, she is a role model for teammates and friends,” says Thunder General Manager Chelsea Purcell. “This past year while she was off the Olympics, we didn’t give someone else with the ‘C’ because no one can replace her. She is the definition of what a true leader is.”
Wearing that ‘C’ on the new green Thunder uniforms, Larocque helped the team capture valuable points leading to the playoffs, and capped off the hockey season with the Clarkson Cup Championship.
Her hard work and dedication to hockey, to her teammates, to the children she coaches on and off the ice, continues all year round, and it does not go unnoticed.
“We do a lot of team events and even with her busy schedule she finds a way to be there to help grow the game. Jocelyne has worked hard to develop her own business to give back to young players who want to want to get stronger and better on the ice,” continues Purcell. “She puts in the time for them to be successful when she already has a lot on her plate – giving back to support the growth of hockey in Canada.”
On October 18th, another incredible honour was added to her whirlwind year. Larocque was recognized for her unique contributions to hockey and sport in Canada, as the female recipient of the Tom Longboat Award. The award is given out to the top female and top male athletes of Aboriginal heritage every year.
“I was surprised and extremely honoured. Tom Longboat is a legend and to be named a recipient of an award named after him is an absolute honour,” says Larocque. Longboat was a legendary long-distance runner, who won the Around the Bay Road Race by three minutes, and the 1907 Boston Marathon in a record time of 2:24:24.
In PyeongChang, Larocque was paired with Brigette Lacquette, the first First Nations woman to play hockey for Canada at the Olympics.
“It meant a lot to be paired with her,” she reflects, “We had a great time playing together – we keep things light and fun which helps us both play our best!”
Her words of encouragement for young Aboriginal players?
“Be proud of where you come from, dream big, do not let others discourage you – prove them wrong!”