Anya and Madison Packer are one of the power couples of the Premier Hockey Federation, the women’s professional hockey league in North America. The couple has been married for just over two years, both now at the Metropolitan Riveters: Anya is the team’s general manager and Madison is a player.
They’ll be taking a break from their work on the ice over the next week, as they have a busy Thanksgiving planned, heading back to Michigan to spend the long weekend with Madison’s family. While there they’ll also be taking in a Red Wings game and the Michigan-Ohio State football game.
The PHF builds in extended breaks from games around Thanksgiving, Christmas and the turn of the New Year. The Riveters won’t return to the ice for a game until Dec. 11, giving everyone time to travel and spend a lengthy Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.
“There is so much care and concern for the well-being of our athletes at the top of the PHF head office, and these gaps allow for more time for our athletes to have around major holidays,” Anya said. “As a new mom, it is amazing to have these breaks to celebrate with my family, and allow athletes the same flexibility.”
The Riveters enter this first break of the season with a 2-1-1 record and third of the six PHF teams.
The break also means more time with their son, Waylon. Anya gave birth to Waylon in September 2020, and since then the two have balanced being new moms with forging their careers in hockey.
“Anya is a super mom, and we have a lot of help from our parents, friends, and team staff sometimes,” Madison said. “The saying goes, it takes a village, and that’s the truth. We are incredibly blessed to have such amazing friends who help make it all work, and Waylon is a lucky little man to have so many strong female role models to look up to in his life.”
The two women also walk a delicate balance in how to communicate about work while at home. It’s something they’ve worked around for years, when Madison was playing and Anya was the head of the Players Association. Now playing and managing the same team, it’s even more vital that they respect one another’s roles. While Madison will at times vent about a frustrating game, in a management role Anya has to be particularly careful about what she shares.
“There is a line that has to be drawn out of respect for the other athletes and their confidential information,” Madison said. “And Anya has an obligation to them not to cross that line or betray that trust.”