In a bit of a surprise for fans of the Metropolitan Riveters and the PHF, general manager Anya Packer announced early Wednesday evening that she would not be returning to her role within the Rivs organization, via Twitter.
It comes with mixed emotions that I have declined renewing my contract as GM of the Riveters.— Anya Packer (She/Her) (@battaglinoa) April 13, 2022
I am VERY PROUD of what we accomplished in a short period of time, highlighted by:
- Improved quality of care for our athletes
- Lead DEI initiatives to #ChangeHockeyCulture
Prior to her stint as general manager, the Waltham, Mass. native played three seasons with the Connecticut Whale and made her mark as an advocate for women’s hockey and the then-NWHL in particular. She parlayed that advocacy into a landmark role as Executive Director of the NWHLPA from 2018 through 2021, where she helped spearhead multiple partnerships and sponsorships, as well as a 50-50 revenue split between league and players and a three-year streaming deal with the gaming platform Twitch.
The revenue split in particular resulted in a 26 percent increase in player salaries and helped catapult the NWHL, which would later rebrand into the PHF in 2021, onto a path toward building sustainability and becoming a viable option for aspiring pro hockey players. Packer’s role in these events put her on a list of the 25 Most Powerful Women in Hockey by Sportsnet in 2020, and on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in Sports list in 2021.
Packer became the third player to take on a front office role on a PHF/NWHL team, after Hayley Moore and Bray Ketchum Peel. She oversaw multiple initiatives relative to diversity and inclusion for her organization, though the details of said initiatives have not been discussed in totality. She also has advocated for mental health awareness and spoken openly about her own struggles, helping bring more exposure to the need for it in women’s sport. On ice, the Riveters played to a 7-12-1 record, achieving a No. 4 playoff seed and ultimately losing in the quarterfinals to Minnesota by a score of 4-1.
With her wife, Madison, showing no signs of retiring as Riveters captain just yet, Anya’s ties to the Rivs and the Fed as a whole are still clear. The biggest question going forward is who will take over as general manager, becoming No. 5 for the Riveters in eight seasons. Clearly there’s a lot to work on with regard to the on-ice product, though they do have some good pieces in place. One thing is clear — while the road hasn’t been perfect, Packer has traveled it with plenty of passion and good intentions, and she will leave her role having made an indelible mark on the world of women’s hockey.