Among the announcements of the NWHL altering its schedule, playoff format and confirmation of season three a little over a month ago, it was also announced that Anya Battaglino from the Connecticut Whale was taking over the role of Director of the NWHLPA. She really is the perfect choice for the role as she is so passionate about the game, her fellow players, and the league that there is no doubt that she will always have everyone’s best interests in mind, in addition to battling as hard as she has to in order to continue to lay the foundation for future generations of female hockey players.
“There will finally be that support and voice for the players all the way up, and the collaboration of players, staff, GMs, and league leaders will lead to a stronger NWHL. I believe in change, and I believe in this league; we will succeed, and we will Never Hear No,” Battaglino said. “This fight for the betterment of the NWHL is for every person with an NWHL jersey on whether it’s a player, honorary captain, or a fan in the stands. Being able to pioneer for those people is a passion of mine that I do not take lightly.”
— Anya Packer (@battaglinoa) March 8, 2017
We reached out to four players in the league to get their initial thoughts on the naming of the new director of the NWHLPA and here’s what they had to say.
“Anya is great for that position, she cares deeply about the league; she has the best interests of the league at heart. She has the business perspective and the players’ perspective – having that balance is really unique and I think it’s really going to help her,” said New York Riveters captain Ashley Johnston. “When you care about something that much you are going to put all of your efforts into it and she’s already demonstrated that, she’s been great to work with and I’m really, really excited for the direction that the PA is going to take going forward.”
— Stretch (@strettyit) February 9, 2017
“I couldn’t think of anyone better to fill the role of Director of the PA. Anya is an incredibly hardworking and determined woman, and she will do anything for us players and this league,” said blueliner Cydney Roesler of the Connecticut Whale. “She’s an advocate for this sport and the NWHL which makes her the perfect individual to represent us players. We have complete confidence in her making sure our voices are heard and working in collaboration with the league for hopefully many years to come.”
— Connecticut Whale (@CTWhale_NWHL) January 23, 2017
“I know Anya from when I first came to BU and she’s been a great friend of mine. I’m super happy that she’s in that position because I think she’s so dominant and unbelievable in speaking for us, for little girls that want to become us, for this league,” said Riveters’ winger Rebecca Russo, “she already has a great stamp on this league. I honestly think no one deserves it more than her because of what she has done already this season without even that title.”
“I think it’s a great step forward organizationally for the league to have a more centralized voice for the players association, and I think Anya is a great choice. She’s been a vocal advocate for the league from the start and definitely has the support of the players,” said Miye D’Oench of the Riveters. “To me, it’s a great sign that the league continues to reevaluate and improve its own internal processes.”
— Anya Packer (@battaglinoa) February 2, 2017
“I was humbled when I heard from my fellow PA members that there was support for me taking on this new role. I have been working tirelessly to advocate for the betterment of this sport since my years at Boston University,” Battaglino told us. “Having the opportunity to represent the league at such a high level is crucial to our success. Working alongside the league office, the player’s voices will be heard. That is the most important part of this, and that will always be the most important thing to me.”
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.