|Jocelyne Larocque during her WCHA debut freshman year|
|Larocque on the ice|
Not only does Jocelyne Larocque break away on the ice, she applies that speed and stamina to all aspects of her life. Larocque has scored a personal hat trick with accomplishments in UMD athletics, academics, and her professional life.
Larocque graduated this month with a Bachelor of Accounting (BAcc). She is originally from Ste. Anne, Manitoba, Canada. She is one of three scholar athletes at UMD and graduated with honors. She was named UMD's first Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) Defensive Player of the Year and was also WCHA's Outstanding Student Athlete of the Year for 2010-11.This is awarded to the outstanding senior female scholar athlete in the WCHA.
She was named All-American first team defenseman in 2009 and 2011 first team Reebok All-American by the American Hockey Coaches Association.
She was also the National Collegiate Athletic Association's third-leading scoring blueliner this season, with a total of 29 points (eight goals and 21 assists) and was a selection for the All-WCHA's First Team. Larocque leaves UMD as the Bulldogs' all-time leading scorer from the backline with 105 points, with 19 goals and 86 assists in 127 career outings.
Larocque knew that she wanted to play college hockey and that she wanted to be a part of “the most competitive league in the country.” Her decision to attend UMD was only natural.
Though she came to UMD with plans to play for the women's hockey team, she's also enjoyed the academic and city atmosphere.
“It’s great to be somewhere that has that small-town feel, but still has things to do like a bigger city. It’s also nice to be close to home," she said.
Larocque has been a member of two WCHA Frozen Four championship teams, played for Team Canada in the women’s hockey World Championship, tried out for the Canadian Olympic hockey team, and made lifelong relationships with students and professors on campus.
Larocque has been busy with hockey during her time here at UMD, but she has always been able to manage her studies. “My professors have been a huge help. When I told them that I needed to take a month off of school to participate in the World Championship, their reaction was ‘how can I help?," she said. "It makes a huge difference knowing that they are supportive and flexible.”
Her professors were also flexible when she took a semester off of school to try out for the Canadian Olympic women’s hockey team during the 2010 fall semester. When she was cut from the team in December, Larocque decided to return to UMD. “My adviser, Tracey Bolen, has been great," she said. "It’s normally quite difficult to fit classes into the hockey schedule, but he even managed to get me into everything I needed when I came back after registration.”
While Larocque credits her professors as positive influences, she says that working with Head Coach Shannon Miller has been one of the highlights of her time as a student athlete. “She works so well with the team," Larocque said. “She has so much knowledge of the game and helped so much in developing my skill. When I first came to UMD, I was a defensive player, but I wanted to expand and be more offensive. Coach Miller trained with me and now I can’t believe how many points I’ve scored over the years.”
Part of being a successful athlete is never becoming complacent, something Miller likes to enforce among her team. "I was on the WCHA Frozen Four championship team when I was a freshman so Coach Miller kept the pressure on me since day one,” Larocque said.
The excitement of winning a national championship didn’t really sink in until her second year. “I didn’t realize how big of a deal winning was until we had lost. My sophomore year, we were knocked out of the Frozen Four in the semifinals, and it felt really bad," Larocque said. "I hadn’t realized how special our championship was until we didn’t have it.”
It was with that feeling that Larocque went into her junior year, winning the Frozen Four championship in triple overtime, the longest NCAA national championship women’s hockey game in history.
Larocque hopes to expand upon her hockey success by continuing to play after college. She would like to return home to Winnipeg and play for the Canadian Hockey League or even the Minnesota Whitecaps. “It would be a bit of travel,” she said, “but it would definitely be worth it.”
She will also return to UMD next year for the 2012 Women’s Frozen Four, which will be hosted by UMD at Amsoil Arena in March. “It will be fun to see all of the alumni," she said. “We hosted in 2008, and I remember seeing all of the alums and thinking how much I wanted to be one of them.”
She has certainly earned her place among UMD alumni and her parents’ pride. “The thing my mom is the most proud of is my success in the classroom, I believe. When I was nominated as the WCHA Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year, my mom was so excited," Larocque said. "I told her not to get too worked up, because I didn’t think I was going to win. I thought it was an honor just to be nominated."
Larocque is well on her way into the post-graduate world, having achieved more than she expected in her time at UMD. The foundations that she learned will help her build a great future.
“It is part of the normal progressions for hockey players to play college hockey before going on to become a professional hockey player," she said. "The time here was definitely well spent.”
UMD Scholar Athletes
Other than Jocelyne Larocque winning WCHA female Scholar Athlete of the Year, UMD had a few other scholar athletes.
Isaac Odim (football), Rebecca Anderson (soccer) and Bridget Hines (cross country) were all named NCAA post graduate scholars. This highly competitive award (only 58 are awarded each sport's season for the entire NCAA) carries with it a $7500 scholarship for post-graduate work. The only other school besides UMD this fall with three award winners was Stanford.
Written by Zach Lunderberg.