The Metropolitan Riveters have a new head coach. Venla Hovi, former Finnish Olympian and former pro in the CWHL and Naisten-Liiga (then SM-sarja), was named the new bench boss of the Riveters today. Hovi succeeds Ivo Mocek, who will remain behind the team’s bench as an associate head coach. Mocek has led the team from behind the bench since the 2019-20 season.
Hovi is the first European woman to serve as head coach of a PHF/NWHL franchise and the first woman to be named head coach of the Riveters. She is the fourth head coach in franchise history.
“I am excited to be part of creating a professional product that comes from doing the little things right on a daily basis including the staff and players,” Hovi shared in the team’s release. “I want to have an environment that is fun to come to work to, and where everyone can feel like home. That is the building base that will allow for growth to happen. I am looking forward to getting to work.”
Hovi is the owner of two Olympic bronze medals, one Worlds silver, and three World bronzes. She also has a unique place in hockey history as the only Finn to win the Clarkson Cup. Hovi played collegiately in both the NCAA at Niagara University and in USports at the University of Manitoba. For the past two years, she’s been the head coach of the Female U17 Prep team in the Okanagan Hockey Academy.
Shortly after news of Hovi’s signing, the Riveters announced the return of team captain Madison Packer and star center Kendall Cornine. All of this comes just four days after the announcement of new general manager Tori Charron and the official announcement of new team president Digit Murphy.
On May 7, Digit Murphy issued a video apology to the trans community for her involvement with the Women’s Sport Policy Working Group in 2021. In her apology, Murphy claims that she “didn’t do her homework” when she joined the group and admits that she “messed up” before stating that “trans women are women and I love advocating for women.”
Needless to say, it has been an eventful stretch of days for the Riveters. With a new president, a new general manager, a new head coach, and the team’s two biggest stars back re-signed, the question now is what comes next? Will Charron make a big splash in free agency to give Hovi an opportunity to turn the Riveters into Isobel Cup contenders? She knows what a championship hockey team looks like.
The free agent frenzy is officially underway and the Rivs need to do more than just bring back the best o last year’s roster if they want to lift Isobel.