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Women in Sports Interview Series: Madison Packer is a hockey player, advocate, and writer

Saying you got to meet your favorite hockey player is something not everyone gets to do. Being at a loss for words in front of them and then being able to interview them a few weeks later? Even less common. 

Well, I got to do that when I interviewed Madison Packer, the Metropolitan Riveters’ power forward and captain. Packer has had a fantastic hockey career, that just keeps getting better. 

But before she could become a leader in the NWHL, she had to get there first. 

CHILDHOOD 

Packer grew up in the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan playing hockey just like her older brother, who’s almost two years older than her. She’s played on different boys teams when she was younger and says that the social aspect may have been the hardest part of playing with boys as she got older. The younger teams were used to girls playing on their teams, but once she hit her teens, some of the boys weren’t used to it, and it made it harder to play. 

EARLY CAREER 

The dream for Packer was to go to college and play for an Olympic team, since those were the options she had growing up. She was able to do that first by playing minor hockey for Little Casear’s AAA team in Detroit. She is a four-time Michigan State Champion as well as winning the bronze medal in 2007. In 2008 and 2009, Packer won gold in the IIHF U-18 Championship with Team USA.

Then she went to the University of Wisconsin.While there, Packer was able to help her team to a NCAA Division I championship in 2011 and competed in three Frozen Fours. Packer was also one of 19 players in school history to record 100 points. She scored 45 total goalshad 58 assists. 

(Photo Credit: Kate Frese)

NWHL 

Packer has been with the Riveters for the past five seasons and is a four time All-Star. She is currently the Riveters all-time leader in points, goals, and penalty minutes and is an Isobel Cup Champion with the Riveters; from their season in 2018. 

To add onto Packer’s success, she is tied at 29 with Jillian Dempsey for the NWHL’s (National Women’s Hockey League) leader in goals and is fourth in the league when it comes to points earned. 

The NWL is growing rapidly, especially with new deals and sponsorships with companies like Twitch and American Giant along with continued support from sponsors like Dunkin’. Individual teams, like the Boston Pride, are earning team sponsorships. When asked, Packer thought that this was the league’s biggest year.

“I think the path forward is to keep doing what we’re doing.” Packer said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. Look back 25-30 years ago, the NHL looked the same way.” 

LIFE OFF THE ICE 

Packer doesn’t just make an impact on the ice. She is active in her community in multiple different ways. 

Packer is lending her voice and platform to further the conversation on mental health and those suffering from addiction and have been lost due to overdose. At each Riveters home game, you will see Packer in a hat during the pre-game introductions and after during the autograph sessions. This hat is to support the Kyle Pavone Foundation. Fans can purchase the hat for $20; all proceeds going to the foundation. 

“…I think it’s an on-going battle. It’s{addiction}an epidemic…We talk about world hunger and the flu.” Packer said. “It’s more common than some people think…I would even venture to say that everyone knows someone who has died of an overdose.” 

Packer also often can be found helping the smaller organizations and resources that can those suffering directly. 

The foundation was founded in the name of Kyle Pavone after his untimely passing in 2018, due to an accidental overdose. You can visit: https://kylepavonefoundation.org to donate or find other ways to help. 

WRITE ABOUT WHAT YOU LOVE

Packer has started writing for the Hockey Wilderness. The Hockey Wilderness is an opportunity for Packer to try something new and be able to freelance part-time. 

While in college, Packer majored in English and creative writing. She wanted to pursue journalism, but it didn’t fit as well with her hockey schedule. Packer enjoyed English in high school and found it to be therapeutic. 

She also wrote Packer’s Perspective while at school, which was a behind the scenes blog and essentially a recap and preview of games from a player’s perspective, that continued for a while after Packer herself graduated. 

Packer is a great person and hockey player, who strives to leave the league and game of hockey better than she found it and is doing so through each platform that she can. 

If you are suffering from mental health issues or addiction please reach out mental health and/or medical professional for help. If you are thinking of suicide please call 1-800-273-8255 or 9-1-1. 

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