Gold-Medal Advice From An All-Star Hockey Mom

Four consecutive state high school hockey championships, one national title, two IIHF U18 gold medals, Hockey East All-Rookie Team, Hockey East All-Star, Second Team All-American, Beanpot champion and captain of the Boston University Terriers.

And now Olympic silver medalist.


Jesse Compher has quite a resume. On top of all that, she just fulfilled a life-long dream of representing the United States at the Beijing Olympics.

For Valerie Compher and her husband Bob, they know just how much time and effort it took for their daughter to reach that point.

“It’s the best reward she could have ever received,” Valerie says. “Knowing the sacrifices she’s made socially and with family, the hours of hard work she put in and the pain her body endures all to get to this point.”

The Compher kids grew up like so many others, playing shinny hockey and hanging around their local rink. Jesse wanted to follow in the footsteps of her older brother JT, now a member of the Colorado Avalanche.

“I look forward to the day women make as much as men playing hockey professionally. I think that day is coming.”

“We never told them they were the best, which kept them humble and hungry,” Valerie recalls.
It’s clear that hunger is something Jesse has carried throughout the ranks as she has been regarded by coaches and teammates for her drive and competitiveness.

It is natural to want your kid to be the best, but as Valerie points out, to be the best you have to have natural competitiveness in you.

“Parents need to realize you can’t buy talent, you can work hard to be better, but you also need to have balance,” she says.

So keep the door open for other opportunities that come along, like art, music and even other sports, she says.

“If a kid ends up being a great hockey player, that’s awesome. That is just what they do. It is NOT who they are, and sometimes parents forget that.”

Off the ice, Compher is ready to take up the continuing mission to promote women’s hockey and pave the way for the next generation of girls. Mom is proud that her daughter shows that same level of determination that she has on the ice.

“Being a woman today has no limits,” mom says. “The women who play on pro teams are just hitting their stride. Their hard work and dedication to make hockey better for themselves and the next generation is tireless.

“Mark my words, the women in these Olympics will not stop until there is a league that pays the players a living wage. I look forward to the day women make as much as men playing hockey professionally. I think that day is coming.”

As the mother of a daughter who plays college hockey, I hope for that, too.  

The women’s game still faces some bumps in the ice as they look to close the gap, but the future has never looked brighter. As her daughter took to the biggest stage in the sport, Valerie had the same advice for her  as always.

“I always say the same thing before every game to our kids: play hard and have fun,” she says. “No matter if you’re a Mite playing house league, in the NHL or an Olympian just play hard and have fun!”
Gold-medal advice from a hockey mom.



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