Jessie McPherson: “You Can Do And Play Anything, Don’t Let Anyone Ever Tell You Otherwise”
McPherson proved that this year when she skated for Team Ontario, skated for Team Canada’s U18 women’s team, lit up Ontario’s top Junior league, and will continue to prove that next year playing NCAA Division I hockey for Vermont.
In fact, McPherson has been proving it for years. She’s showed the local hockey scene what she can do as a goaltender at every level, including growing up competing against boys.
“I always tried to prove to them that I could be dependable no matter what. I always worked as hard if not harder than them to show them that I could compete and be there for them when they needed me in games. I’m sure many opponents were happy to see that the other team’s goalie had a ponytail, because they though they’d have it “easy” because I’m a girl, but I always showed up every game to prove to them that it was going to be a long night.”
McPherson proved that while playing ‘AAA’ for the Chatham-Kent Cylcones and ‘AA’ for the Kent Cobras growing up.
“I hope that all female athletes have the drive to show the boys up. I realized very quickly that I could definitely keep up with the pace of a male hockey game and I hope all female athletes realize that they can too and proving the boys wrong by working harder than them to be better than them is the best feeling.”
For McPherson, her love for sport transcends the ice. She loves sports, and hopes that other young women will look to sports as a source of empowerment as well.
“If a young female was interested in playing a new sport I would highly encourage it,” says McPherson. “Sports shaped me to be the person I am today, it made me stronger, more driven, I developed many relationships, always had the most fun, and gave me something to be passionate about. Young females have to grow up with the mindset that they can accomplish anything and sports is a very good way to build that strength and sense of confidence and passion. I would tell a young female athlete that if they want it bad enough, they can accomplish anything.”
McPherson has been one of the top goaltenders in the PWHL for years with the Cambridge Rivulettes after moving on from the Chatham Outlaws organization. Soon she’ll be backstopping the University of Vermont, and she hopes she can be an inspiration for other young girls.
“I hope that young girls are inspired when they see female athletes such as myself and many others from Chatham competing at the international and NCAA level. There are many local female athletes in many different sports that set a great example of what you can become some day for young girls,” she said. “I remember when I was at a goalie camp at the age of about 9, I was the only girl at the camp and the head instructor during the last ice session at the end of the week gathered all the goalies and said “if I were to pick one boy that I thought was going to go the farthest, one boy that would make it all the way, one boy that we will one day watch on TV in the Olympics, it would be this boy” and he pointed to me. All the others kids started going crazy saying “what she’s not even a boy how could you say that!” But the coach said “yes but she’ll make it farther than any of you will” and that has stuck with me forever.”
For Jessie McPherson, that encouragement, and her drive to succeed, has helped her prove she belongs, and prove she’s still one of the brightest prospects in Canada. For her, her story started in Chatham-Kent, but McPherson hopes that girls all over continue to dream, and overcome.
“You have to start somewhere, don’t ever be afraid to compete against boys because it only makes you stronger. There are many opportunities for young female athletes in many different sports, you can do and play anything, don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.”