PHOTO BY BRYAN JOHNSON
Madison Packer, who won an NCAA title at Wisconsin and has gone on to become one the NWHL’s best players since the league’s inception, has signed with the Riveters for the 2019-20 NWHL season. In the NWHL record books, Packer is tied for the all-time lead with Boston’s Jillian Dempsey in goals (29), and she is fourth in points (51).
Packer will receive a salary of $12,000 for the upcoming season. The collection of players competing in the 2019-20 season will also receive a 50 percent cut of all revenue from league-level sponsorship and media deals. Players also receive 15 percent of the revenue from apparel sold with their names on it. Packer’s shirsey can be ordered here. In addition to playing for the Riveters, Packer works as project coordinator for Absolute Value, a boutique search firm in the information service and technology enabled business spheres.
“I’m coming back for a fifth season because I am passionate about continuing my playing career and to advance the game and our league,” said Packer. “I’m confident in the direction our sport is headed, and in the plan the NWHL has laid out for a strong season and positive experience for players and fans. It’s important to build off the momentum created by the league’s success last season, and my body feels good enough to continue playing.”
An original Riveter, Packer has been a consistent force in her four seasons in the NWHL. She is the Riveters’ all-time leader in goals, points and penalty minutes (91). In the Riveters’ Isobel Cup-winning season in 2017-18, Packer led the NWHL in goals with 10 and was a finalist for the league’s MVP award. This past season, she tied for the team lead with eight goals and was second on the Riveters with 13 points. She was also named one of the Fans’ Three Stars of the Season.
“Madison has been a bedrock of the Riveters and a respected leader on and off the ice,” said Kate Whitman Annis, who was recently named the team’s general manager. “She’s a great player to have under contract as we start to build our team.”
In addition to her stellar play, Packer has been active in the hockey community. Earlier this year, Packer returned to her hometown of Detroit with four other members of the NWHL to run a clinic for inner city hockey players at Detroit’s historic Clark Park.
“It is a rare experience for kids to grow up with role models they aspire to be, who they can meet every Saturday or Sunday after watching them compete. The NWHL provides that,” said Packer. “I will continue to support and play for the NWHL as long as my body allows because I feel it is hugely important for kids to have role models they can relate to and interact with on a daily basis. I believe in the future of women’s hockey, and I believe that future lies within the kids who come to our rink every weekend, standing in line waiting to watch us play!”
Packer played for Little Caesars U19 AAA in Michigan, leading the team in scoring in 2010 and helping to lead the team to four straight state championships. She also played in the U18 World Championships with Team USA in 2008 and 2009, serving as alternate captain in 2009.
Packer then went on to a successful four-year career at women’s college hockey powerhouse Wisconsin, recording 45 goals and 58 assists to become the 19th player in program history to eclipse the 100-point mark. She played a central role when the Badgers won the NCAA Championship in 2011. In her first season, she received votes for WCHA Rookie of the Year after finishing with 26 points (13-13-26) and a plus-21 rating in 38 games.
Packer won the Isobel Cup with the Riveters in 2018. (PHOTO BY MICHAEL HETZEL)
Packer helped run a clinic for inner city hockey players in her hometown of Detroit.
Packer played in the 2019 NWHL All-Star Game. (PHOTO BY MICHELLE JAY)
Q&A with Madison Packer
What does being a Riveter and original NWHLer mean to you?
The Riveters organization means a lot to me. Any time you can play for the same organization for five seasons, that's pretty special. I am very humbled and grateful for the opportunity from both the NWHL and the Riveters. There has always been a certain identity and culture within the Riveters organization, and to be fair I think a little of that was lost last season as we struggled to be successful as a team. I’m excited for the opportunity to work with the new group to restore that culture. It starts with a strong leadership core. If there is anything avid Riveter fans can appreciate, it is our franchise's ability to make a comeback.
Any personal goals for the upcoming season?
My personal goals align with team goals because I’m a firm believer that individual success doesn’t mean much if the team isn’t being successful. My role has always been to make plays, be a leader, and put the puck in the net. That’s a lot easier to do when surrounded by other players who elevate your game. We need to build a team dynamic that people want to be a part of. It’s always nice to make the All-Star Game, win awards, and get a ton of points so I will certainly work for those as well, but those are things I have to strive for to do my job in making our team successful.
Anything else you’d like to share about your future plans, personally and in hockey?
Don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’m getting married this summer. Pretty top secret, exciting stuff going on there.