The Metropolitan Riveters made their third transaction of the off-season on April 3, re-signing Madison Packer for a sixth NWHL season – the first player to be a part of the league in each of its seasons. Last season was Packer’s first as captain of the franchise and she finished the season as the second-leading scorer in the history of the league.
The 28-year-old is a four-time All-Star, an Isobel Cup champion (2018), an NCAA champion (2011), and this summer will become a parent. “I never imagined I would have the opportunity to have a child of my own watching me play the game I love, and next season Anya and I will get to share those memories with our son,” said Packer, who with wife Anya Packer awaits the birth of their first child this summer. “It’s something Anya and I are very excited for, and we feel blessed to have the opportunity to experience this as a family.”
This past season Packer finished fifth in the NWHL in scoring with a career-high 34 points, shared the league lead in power-play goals (5), and is the first player to score at least eight goals in four consecutive seasons.
Icon of the Franchise
“For myself and our team, Madison checks all the boxes. You won’t find a tougher player on the ice and a more caring person off the ice,” said Riveters GM Kate Whitman Annis. “Madison’s constant dedication to the Riveters and the NWHL has moved women’s hockey forward and we are thrilled to have her back to lead the Riveters during the 2020-21 season.”
Not only is Packer second all-time in NWHL scoring with 85 points, but she’s also second in goals (42) and assists (43), and the Michigan native is league’s all-time leader in power-play points (23) and power-play goals (13).
This past season she started the season with at least one point in 13 straight games, and over 25 games (regular season and playoffs) she was held off the scoresheet only three times. Packer was named the VEDA Player of the Week after scorching the Buffalo Beauts with eight points (4g-4a) over two games (Dec. 28-29).
“The 2019-20 Riveters were one of my favorite teams ever, and it was the most fun playing hockey in a long time,” said Packer in the press release announcing her signing. “It was a fantastic year for the league, as we showed everyone that we are here for business and aren’t going away. I look forward to continuing to be part of the league that is writing a narrative for women’s hockey and making history.”
Packer relayed on multiple occasions throughout the past season how much fun she didn’t have in the previous season when the Riveters fell on their faces in their defense of the Isobel Cup. Her joy this past season was evident every time she stepped on the ice, joked with friends, met and signed autographs for fans, and when she captained one of the teams at the NWHL All-Star Game in Boston.
“I have tremendous respect for every one of my teammates and my opponents for the work we did moving the needle this season, and I will continue to stand proud beside those pioneers,” added Packer. “The Riveters are a top-notch organization with a locker room made up of world-class leaders, athletes, and people. I am humbled for the opportunity to continue to wear that jersey.”
“The NWHL and the Riveters have been my home for half a decade, and I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.”
Having already re-signed forward Kendall Cornine and defender Rebecca Morse the Riveters are looking like they may be reassembling the same core group of players after spending a summer rebooting the franchise.
Whitman Annis was basically working with a blank canvas and with the help of Head Coach Ivo Mocek and they put together a talented, balanced and selfless group. The Rivs were one goal away from advancing to the Isobel Cup Final, dropping a 1-0 overtime game to the Minnesota Whitecaps in the home of the defending champions.
With Packer now assured of returning it will be interesting to see how the other dominos fall into place on the Riveters roster for next season.
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.