When Jincy and Joy Dunne stepped onto the ice at Buffalo's LECOM Harborcenter last week, it was the result of years of hard work and brought things full-circle for their family.
The pair were in Buffalo for the USA Hockey Women's National Festival. Jincy was trying out for the Women's Worlds roster, and Joy for the U18 Women's Select roster – on the same ice where Jincy scored the gold-medal winning goal at the U18 World Championships in 2015.
(Video: Craig Kanalley/Vine)
"It seems like years ago... I was in high school! My body hurt less," Jincy joked. "It's been really sweet coming back, and seeing my little sister tear it up at camp, too."
"At first, it didn't click – we're going to Buffalo, and it's going to be here," Joy said. "And then, I'm at the rink, and I'm like… oh my gosh, my sister got the game-winner here. That's so cool. Then we walk into one of the rooms and it has a picture of all of them. This is so awesome."
It came as little surprise to anyone who watched either of them on the ice that both made their respective teams at the end of the festival. Jincy showcased her own skills and built off of USAH's familiarity with her from the Beijing Olympics, while Joy used her imposing physical presence and strength to force players off the puck and create chances for her team. (She also had several goals!)
Although the sisters weren't with each other all the time, each forging their own path trying to make their respective teams, they were still together in Buffalo.
"It's great – especially since we like each other," Joy said. "We usually try to go and walk after our games. It's so nice… to get to hang out. She watches my games and gives me some feedback, and the same with me to her, as much as I can."
The pair are familiar with what it takes to succeed. They've grown up in a hockey family, with three other siblings who also play currently. Joy is committed to play for The Ohio State University in 2023, following in the footsteps of Jincy (2015-2020) and Jessica (2014-2017). Josey attends the University of Minnesota (2020-present), while James played at Fort Zumwalt South High and for the St. Louis Sting organization. Josh plays for the Columbus Blue Jackets and their AHL affiliate.
It's clear that the siblings look to each other for inspiration. "She has so much poise with the puck," Joy said of Jincy. "She can see the ice so well. She sees a play when we're ten steps behind it, she handles the puck really well, and she's just a solid defenseman."
Jincy seems to assess herself on the same plane.
"I think I have a great offensive game in terms of vision and moving the puck," she said. "Really just locking it down in the D-zone and being consistent there."
Joy, who said she admires Kendall Coyne-Schofield's work ethic, describes herself as very competitive and very physical. She also said that playing boys' hockey last season put a chip on her shoulder and helped elevate the physical side of her game.
"I'm definitely a shooter," she added. "I don't know how it happened. I broke my wrist one time, and then I came back and shot harder than ever… I'll take it. Sometimes, it just works."
I spoke to the sisters separately, but they seemed to agree with each other about their hockey strengths, without even knowing what the other one said.
"Joy has a really strong, bold presence about her, where she can just dominate if she wants to," Jincy said. "She probably has one of the best shots I've ever seen in the women's game. She has a boldness and a determination about her; she's so fierce."
"She might be the baby of the family, but she doesn't act like it. There's an ownership and an authority about her, and I've definitely fed off that," she added.
After a week together in Buffalo, the sisters have gone their separate ways. Joy was selected to the roster for the U18 Summer Series, but was unable to attend due to her current status in relation to Canada's vaccination and quarantine requirements for those under 18. Jincy remained in Buffalo for Worlds pre-camp before departing to Denmark for the tournament on August 19. The Women's Worlds will take place from August 25 to September 4 in the cities of Herning and Frederikshavn.