They were once Olympic rivals — one the captain of the U.S. women's hockey team, the other the captain of Canada's women's hockey team. But now Julie Chu and Caroline Ouellette are celebrating the birth of their daughter, and they're melting hockey fans' hearts.
"I feel truly blessed to experience this incredible adventure with my love and best friend Julie," the Canadian Ouellette wrote on Instagram, announcing their baby's birth earlier this month. "I did not realize it was possible to love this much until I met this little buddle of joy!"
The couple posted images of their birth announcement, saying that Liv Chu-Ouellette was born at 10:18 p.m. on Nov. 5, weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces. A separate photo showed little Liv bundled in swaddling, wearing an "All Star" infants' cap.
Their baby's arrival caps an extraordinary year for Chu and Ouellette. In the spring, they won the Canadian Women's Hockey League's Clarkson Cup together, as teammates on the Montreal Canadiennes. And now, as hockey site The Ice Garden reports, fans are realizing that Ouellette was pregnant at the time.
Ouellette said, "It was a happy pregnancy for us. Liv was on the ice to win the Clarkson Cup with Les Canadiennes de Montréal this past March."
In her own post, Chu wrote, "We have already been blessed with so many things in our life: Amazing friends and family, Love, Representing our countries, and doing things we are passionate about each day. We couldn't have felt luckier, until we were blessed with the most incredible Gift so far on Sunday, November 5."
In Montreal, their team welcomed the news.
"Les Canadiennes are overjoyed by the arrival of our newest team member, the adorable Liv Chu-Ouellette!" the team wrote, congratulating the couple and possibly becoming the first hockey team in history to use emoticons for a baby bottle and little pink hearts.
Canadian Women's Hockey League Commissioner Brenda Andress wrote to congratulate the family, saying the league is "excited about our 2038 newest draft pick."
Sportscaster John Buccigross tweeted, "I've never met a better human than Julie Chu. Congrats to her and Caroline on their child. That baby is blessed and lucky. #hockeymoms."
The hockey blog High Heels and High Sticks wrote that the couple proved "that you too can live the life of an inspirational sports movie with a compelling relationship arc."
Ouellete is a native of Montreal. Chu is from Fairfield, Conn. And as Canada's CBC reports, "Ouellette captained Team Canada to gold at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and also owns gold medals from the three previous Winter Games. Chu, who wore the 'C' from 2011-13, is a four-time Olympic medalist with the Americans, earning three silvers (2002, 2010, 2014) and one bronze (2006)."
Ouellette is currently on leave from the Canadiennes. Chu is not listed on the active roster, but she's also busy coaching the Concordia University Stingers — a post for which she was named Coach of the Year in February.
In her Instagram post, Ouellette wrote, "Thanks to our families and friends for your support and for being part of this new journey."
She added, "Cheers to the sleepless nights to come!"