News>Feature - 2011 Academy grad is 'Aces' at Elmendorf-Richardson
Jacques Lamoureux, right, looks for a pass during a game at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska, between the Anchorage Aces and the Ontario Reign Dec. 17, 2011. Lamoureux, who plays left wing for the Aces, is a contracting officer with the 673rd Contracting Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and a 2011 graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Gross)
Louis Mass, left, works one-on-one with Jacques Lamoureux during a practice at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska, Dec. 28, 2011. Lamoureux, a contracting officer with the 673rd Contracting Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, also plays professional hockey for the Anchorage Aces in the left wing position. Mass is an assistant coach for the Aces. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Gross)
Jacques Lamoureux maneuvers around a water bottle during a drill at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska, Dec. 28, 2011. Lamoureux, a contracting officer with the 673rd Contracting Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, also plays professional hockey for the Anchorage Aces in the left wing position. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Christopher Gross)
by Senior Airman Christopher Gross
Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson Public Affairs
1/11/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- A series of figure-eight-like drills and countless laps of skating up and down the ice working on stick technique, passing and shooting is not how most Airmen spend part of their morning and lunch break.
For most Airmen in today's Air Force, conquering everyday mission requirements along with juggling family time occupies most of their day.
However, that's not enough for contracting specialist Jacques Lamoureux: Aside from being an active-duty Airman, he finds time to play professional hockey with the Alaska Aces.
The 190 pound 25-year-old from Grand Forks, N.D., plays left wing for the Anchorage-based team, when he's not fulfilling his second lieutenant duties for the 673rd Contracting Squadron here or spending time with his wife.
Lamoureux, a 2011 graduate of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., said hockey was a big part of growing up in North Dakota. With long, cold, dark winters, neighborhood children were always looking to start a pick-up game at the local outdoor rink or pond.
"Hockey is kind of what we gravitated towards, because that's what everybody did growing up," Lamoureux said.
Like many hockey pros, Lamoureux was skating long before he can remember. He has pictures and has been told stories of how his father would lace up his skates and take him down to the frozen pond behind their house. His father would give him a chair to skate around with to help him keep his balance. At age two, this would be the start of Lamoureux's drive for hockey.
"That's where I developed a love for the game. Playing on the pond, (the game) is so pure," Lamoureux said.
It was never really a challenge to find some competition either. With six children, all within five years of each other, pick-up games were always easy to come by.
Lamoureux grew up with three brothers and two sisters, all of whom still play or have some part in hockey. His twin sisters were part of the 2010 Women's Olympic team, which took the silver medal that year.
"We all grew up playing sports together. If we couldn't find enough friends to have a game, we had enough people in our household to have one," he said.
While growing up, Lamoureux said his dad was always that person
he admired and still does today.
"My dad's the one person that I've always looked up to, not only in hockey, but as the type of person I want to be one day," Lamoreaux. "He provided for our family, for six kids and he always gave us a chance to do what we wanted to."
Lamoureux's father was originally from Edmonton, Canada, and moved to North Dakota to play hockey at the University of North Dakota. All of the Lamoureux children except for Jacques, have attended or currently attend UND. Lamoureux said he wanted the opportunity to serve his country, so he applied to attend the Air Force Academy but didn't get in his first go-round.
So he spent a year at Northern Michigan University attending classes and playing hockey, he said he got a taste of the college life and decided it really wasn't for him. Following one year at NMU he was accepted into the academy and would attend for the next four years.
"When I first got recruited there, I loved it and what they had to offer, I liked the regimen and life style," he said. "I got a great education, served my country and played hockey, (so it was the) best of all three worlds."
While at the academy, Lamoureux won the conference with his team three out of the four years he was there, and he was an All-Conference and All-American player.
However, like most great players, Lamoureux is very humble about his accomplishments.
"We had great players on a great team and when you have a team that has success you're going to have individuals that have success," said a down-to-Earth Lamoureux.
While at the Academy, one of Lamoureux's brothers, who played for the Aces as well a few years back, tossed out the idea that if he happened to get stationed here, he might have a shot at playing with the Aces.
Everything seemed to fall in place. Lamoureux was assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, arriving in Alaska in August after graduating from the Academy in May. He contacted team representatives to let them know that he was stationed here and in the meantime skated and worked out at the outside rink downtown.
Lamoureux received a phone call during one of his self-mandated practices, only a few weeks into the Aces' season, and he was told they would need him to play the next night. After working out the details over the phone. Lamoureux called his father to tell him the good news. In return, he said he received a fatherly speech about what he needed to do to succeed.
"I was excited, I was nervous and had the butterflies," Lamoureux said about the emotions he experienced when he received the call. "It was good to get the nerves back, I was excited and I missed the feeling of playing in a game."
Through his first few games, Lamoureux said the body checks and skating at game speed felt really good. He also scored a goal in only his second game with the Aces.
Louis Mass, the Aces' assistant coach, had nothing but good things to say about the left winger. He said he's impressed with what Lamoureaux brings to the ice and his dedication with being able to juggle his job, hockey and family.
"He's obviously very motivated -- you can tell even by the line of work he's in. He's a guy who sacrifices quite a bit," Mass said.
As for his Air Force job, Lamoureux works as a contracting specialist, where he helps the Air Force in making purchases. It a career that he wanted to do coming into the Air Force, he said.
Lamoureux said hockey doesn't interfere with his work, nor will he let there be any problems: Work comes first. He comes in early to get work done, takes off for a three-hour practice and comes back to finish the rest of the work day. As for away games, if the team needs him, he simply takes his own leave to travel with the team.
Lamoureux said it's always been a dream to play at this level.
"I've always wanted to play pro hockey, but I never thought I'd be in a situation like this," he said.
He credits his parents for teaching his siblings and him how to work hard for where they want to be in life and he's fortunate that he's carried that will of working hard throughout his life.