Seeing Double: Getting to Know the Levesque Twins
Western Mustangs Women's HockeyGreg Bowman
The grind of an OUA season can take a group of athletes at the start of the year, and turn them into family by season’s end. The daily practices and training sessions, the long road trips, suffering the heartbreak of defeat and the exhilaration of victory together can create lifelong connections for many years after the fact.
For identical twins Evra and Edie Levesque of the Western Mustangs women’s hockey team, they already had an established lifelong connection by association, but their time at Western has just allowed them expand their family even more.
“It’s been a nice and long journey. Now that we see that it’s coming to an end… I never thought about the seniors night until a couple of weeks ago and I’m kind of sad about it,” said Edie when asked about her senior year.
“It was a long process and obviously great opportunities this year to be captain. Everything has been going so well I don’t really want it to end,” replied Evra.
The Levesque twins grew up in Wawa, Ontario--a small town of about 3000 people on the North-Eastern peninsula of Lake Superior. It has a strong Francophone community, with the Levesques not learning English until high school. Given Wawa’s location, it was difficult to play competitive hockey, often having to travel hours away for practices and games.
As a result, the twins attended the Canadian International Hockey Academy, which is a boarding school with a focus on hockey training and development. In their time at the academy, Evra was named MVP in their last season, and teams were starting to notice the new stud pair of twins. Evra was initially the draw for scouts as Edie was injured at the time. Western was the first school to approach both of them with a recruitment offer, with the Levesques accepting it almost immediately.
In their first year at Western, both sisters were regulars in the lineup, with Edie playing alongside Katelyn Gosling, who is now a member of Team Canada; and Evra playing alongside Mustang-great, Kendra Broad. The Mustangs would go to their second straight National Championship tournament after winning in 2015, but would get eliminated in two games. In their rookie season, the Levesque twins were able to go to a national championship while playing beside some of the best players to ever come through the program.
They would look to carry that momentum into their second year, but the Mustangs were eliminated in the first round of the McCaw Cup playoffs to the Waterloo Warriors.
“I hate losing and I know our team hated losing and that feeling of watching the scores and watching everybody else moving on except us. I think that hurt us in a way that got us really motivated the next year so [it] would not happen again,” Evra commented on the elimination to Waterloo.
“It was kind of disappointing because we still had a good team and good energy and we were confident going into playoffs and we came up short… it was devastating,” said Edie on the loss.
The Levesques and the Mustangs responded the next year by capturing their first-ever McCaw Cup in program history as OUA Champions, earning their place in the U Sports National Championship which they were hosting. The Mustangs rattled off 13 consecutive wins from January 21st until the Gold Medal game of the Championship where they fell 2-0 to the Manitoba Bisons.
Everything just seemed to come together for the Mustangs in 2017-18: “[It was] the unity we had. No drama, everybody was looking for each other, everybody was ready to do anything for one another… we were so strong as a group,” said Evra.
It was an unforgettable season for the Mustangs for many reasons: “winning the OUAs was our first time so it was really exciting. And sweeping Guelph and Toronto gave us a boost. And hosting Nationals was quite an experience,” Edie remembers.
Kelly Paton was hired by Laurier that ensuing offseason, opening the door for Candice Moxley try and guide the Mustangs back this season. This year, however, the Levesques were not the only set of twins, as Sarah and Hannah Irwin have both been suiting up for the purple & white in their rookie season: “it’s kind of fun but at the same time it’s weird because usually when people say ‘hey, twins!’ me and Ev answer but now there’s four of us answering,” said Edie.
“The dressing room has always been a little family of us, but having that extra real family in it has emphasized a lot of unity and it’s just really fun,” said the Mustangs’ captain on the family ties, as the Mustangs also have the Lasis sisters, Carmen and Anthea.
Family is something incredibly important to the Levesque sisters, as they have more than just the two of them involved with the Mustangs. Earlier this season, they hosted a night for ALS awareness where their uncle Eddy, who suffered from ALS was on-hand for a ceremonial puck-drop.
“My uncle Eddy has always been around and he’s always been really involved in our hockey career always making videos, always coming and watching us. For us to do that little thing to honour him… just put a little smile on his face that he usually puts on ours,” said Evra on the ALS night her and Edie held on November 23rd.
Eddy unfortunately passed away in January after his battle with ALS. Edie was actually named after her uncle, which gave them a special connection: “we have that thing that every time we saw each other we’d say ‘oh you have the most beautiful name’. It kind of [got] on everybody’s nerves, but he still has the most beautiful name,” an emotional Edie reminisced.
The twins will always play with Eddy in their minds and hearts though: “perseverance was always one thing I admired from him so I feel like that value he had will be something I carry for the rest of my life,” reflected Evra.
Eddy started a website called “Let’s Roll Out ALS”, which will survive his legacy in creating more awareness of ALS in hopes of finding a cure.
The Mustangs are now wrapping up their regular season, and for the Levesques it will be their final one in London. Edie, a linguistics major, is looking at a graduate program at either York or Laurentian, while Evra, a kinesiology major, is looking at Laurentian for teacher’s college as well. They haven’t yet decided if they will continue hockey in their fifth year, but if the Levesque twins suit up for the Voyageurs, it could change the landscape of the OUA.
Edie and Evra Levesque are the types of people who lead by example. It’s rare to find either of them without a smile on their face, and their dedication to their craft on the ice is admirable. Edie is a defenceman who isn’t afraid to block shots and protect her crease at all costs, while Evra is a versatile two-way player who can play in any situation, earning her the captaincy for this year.
Their charitable efforts away from the ice further exemplify how genuine the twins are, and should be used as role models for student athletes everywhere.
Be sure to check out Eddy Levesque’s for ALS awareness: http://www.lets-roll.ca/Welcome.html