PWHL Draft prep — Q&A with Madison Packer

The IX: Hockey Friday with The Ice Garden, June 7, 2024

The first PWHL season basically just ended and we’re already off and running in the offseason. The first re-signing for the second season happened and the 2024 Draft is on Monday. This week we’re going to take a quick look at offseason specifics, draft previews and close with an interview with Madison Packer. 

Continue reading with a subscription to The IX

Get unlimited access to our exclusive coverage of a varitety of women’s sports, including our premium newsletter by subscribing today!

Join today

First order of business to cover is signings and re-signings. Restricted free agency, for lack of a better term, started on June 1 and runs until June 21. Teams are able to offer contract extensions to only their players from last season who were on one-year contracts. Then on June 21, regular free agency opens and everyone is fair game to any team.

Your business can reach over one million women’s sports fans every month!

Here at The Next and The IX, our audience is a collection of the smartest, most passionate women’s sports fans in the world. If your business has a mission to serve these fans, you should reach out to our team at to discuss ways to work together. For a limited time, we are accepting paid collaboration inquiries for 2024.

We’ve already had (at least as of writing) one re-signing. Ottawa extended forward Natalie Snodgrass for one year. You can keep track of all of the signings in our signing tracker! 

Our signing tracker — The Ice Garden

The next big event of the offseason is the 2024 Draft, which is Monday in St. Paul! The draft will be seven rounds and a traditional format (as opposed to a snake draft). Players had to declare for the draft with 167 players doing so. Only 42 will hear their names called on Monday but the remaining players are eligible to be invited to camp to try out.

The top pick will almost assuredly be Sarah Fillier — she was the top pick in our mock draft — and typically leads all of the prospect boards. The Ice Garden will have a LOT more pre-draft coverage coming this weekend so keep an eye out for that! But here’s some mock drafts — including ours — plus player rankings from around women’s hockey.

Our mock draft — The Ice Garden

PWHL mock draft: Sarah Fillier goes No. 1 to New York, but what comes next? — The Athletic ($)

PWHL mock draft — The Hockey News

PWHL Draft ranking 2024: Sarah Fillier, Claire Thompson and Amanda Kessel highlight the list — The Athletic ($)

Ranking the top 10 players — The Daily Faceoff

Why PWHL prospect Claire Thompson is putting medical school on hold to return to hockey — The Athletic ($)

Mike Hirshfeld talks draft, free agency, and Shares insight Into PWHL Ottawa’s Future — The Hockey News

2024 PWHL draft preview show — CBC

PWHL Puck Drop | Ep 21 | PWHL Champions! Free Agency and Draft! with special guest Noora Tulus — GameDayHockey Podcast

Obviously with the end of the season, its a good time for reflections and and projections. Here’s just a few I found particularly good:

Will the PWHL be the answer for women’s pro hockey? The stars seem to be aligning — MSNBC.

The first season of the PWHL is in the books. What’s ahead for the league and for Boston? — Boston Globe

Draft, free agency, long-awaited team names and logos: Previewing a busy PWHL offseason — CBC

Want women’s hockey content? Subscribe to The Ice Garden!

Here at The IX, we’re collaborating with The Ice Garden to bring you Hockey Friday. And if you want the women’s hockey goodness 24/7? Well, you should subscribe to The Ice Garden now!

Q+A with Madison Packer

Back on April 30, PWHL New York hosted its Mental Health Awareness night. Mike Murphy (TIG) chatted with forward Madison Packer. Throughout her entire career, Packer has been outspoken about mental health, addiction and more, never straying from her unwavering support. 

TIG: You’ve been so tremendous speaking out about mental health. This is the mental health game at Prudential Center. It feels like it’s your game right? And then that second period, this team is playing for something which I really like, that you can play for that first pick. What was it was like playing with the crowd here? It’s a Tuesday night, team’s out of the playoffs, but 3,000 people show up.

Packer: Yeah, I think it’s incredible. I love playing here. I love being in New Jersey again. The fans have always been good to us here and so it was nice to get a win in front of them. They deserve better than we came out in the first period. So I was glad that we kind of turned it on and turned it around at the end.

TIG: We had a fan speak so passionately about mental health and I’m wondering what it’s like being an advocate of those things, an advocate of supporting trans youth, supporting mental health, and having that voice and feeling support from your teammates in the community. Do you feel that support from fans, that it resonates with them and it matters to them? 

Packer: Yeah, I think it goes both ways. Let’s be honest, the world is tough right now. A lot of bad things are happening. Life is a gift. but you wake up and there’s a lot of scary stuff happening outside your front door. 

A large part of what we do is obviously sport, but sport is about connecting people and community and how we can use our platforms to influence real change in our communities that have issues. You look at mental health — specifically suicide is an epidemic in our country. It has been for a long time. We’ve talked about it before. Plus, addiction and then the overdose crisis. So I think anytime we can draw we can use our platforms to draw awareness to that. 

The Shoulder Check is a great organization. The work they do is incredible and spreading awareness and the hockey community. It’s not super common in sport to have leaders and teams step up and put their name on something and put their support behind something. So, I think it says a lot about the character of our team, and the leadership. I’m proud we did it. 

TIG: I’ve been following you since 2015, but tonight is my first PWHL game I’ve been able to come to all year. I walk around and I see Riveters jerseys, Packers jerseys. I think about the legacy you’ve made on the game and the impact you’ve made, and how much it means to so many people. Not just the stats, not just the goals, the assists — but using your voice and your platform. Do you ever pause to think about leaving the game better than the game you came into? Because from the sidelines to me that’s that’s all I see.

Packer: I think that the most important part of what we do give back to community. New York means a lot to me — the Riveters were a team that meant a lot to me, to be able to play for them as long as they did. It’s emotional because you look up in the stands and you see those people still coming out. They’re fans of women’s sports and they’re fans of us. As hard as it is to lose that part of me, I guess a little bit you know it’s just a part of the journey and you see all those people continue to come out and support us. It shows that they identify and have a connection not just with the team and the area, but really with the players. I think that is motivation to continue to use my words and continue to use my platform. 

You used the phrase, ‘leave the game better than you found it.’ The game of hockey has always been good to me. I think that I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good experiences, meet a lot of good people. 

But especially in the various leagues, I was able to play I was able to find my voice a little bit. That’s kind of my role now, to remind my counterparts that they can do the same to use their voice and that you’re more powerful than you believe in a lot of ways. It’s about more than just a game.

24/7 women’s soccer coverage with The Equalizer

The IX is partnering with The Equalizer to bring more women’s sports stories to your inbox. Subscribers to The IX receive 50% off their subscription to The Equalizer for 24/7 coverage of women’s soccer.

TIG: As someone who wrote a lot about this, the players who built the road to where we got here. I feel like it took a lot of wheelbarrows full of bricks to get us to where we are, you and a lot of those players in the CWHL, NWHL/PHF and the PWHPA. Looking at that and looking at the impact you make now, is that something you want to kind of impart to some of these younger players, these players coming into this pro lifestyle, that everyone worked their asses off? For how important it is to take those moments to make that connection not just with fans, but with this community we’re talking about?

Packer: Yeah I was actually just having this conversation with [basketball legend] Sue Bird, which to say now that I was like in a room having a casual conversation with Sue Bird, right? 

TIG: Pretty cool. 

Packer: Eight years ago that wasn’t happening. We were talking about women’s sport and how it’s so different from men’s, and how it’s counterproductive and damaging to try and compare us to the men because it’s a different game. It’s a different everything. 

The biggest difference in my opinion is that we have had and will continue to always have obligation to do more. It’s a different connection with the fan. It’s a different responsibility to do more with less and and pave the way for the next generation because you truly want it to be better for them. 

But then when they come into that wave, their job is to continue to push the bar. Not in a entitled. demanding way, but we’ve proven that we’re working out, proving that we’re investable. The sad reality is it was never as good for me as it will be for a player like Daryl Watts, and Daryl Watts should recognize that it’ll never be as good for her as it will be for the next wave coming through. But that means you’ve done your job — to push for more and better, always, regardless of what that means for you. That is the most important thing that we can do as we continue to build.

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by The Ice Garden