The Metropolitan Riveters have named Venla Hovi as head coach. She replaces Ivo Mocek who will remain with the club as associate head coach.
Hovi is the fourth head coach in franchise history.
The former Finnish Olympian and Canadian Women’s Hockey League pro is the first European woman to serve as head coach of a PHF/NWHL franchise. She is also the first woman to be named head coach of the Riveters.
A two-time Olympic bronze medalist, three-time World bronze medalist and World silver medalist, she is the only Finnish player to have won the Clarkson Cup, awarded to the winner of the now defunct CWHL.
“It’s a phenomenal career opportunity for myself,” Hovi said. “I want to grow, I want to challenge myself and help the game, and I don’t think there’s a better position out there for myself right now where I can do all those things. I want to learn and grow and make the game better at the top level.”
Shortly after announcing its new coach, the team announced that it had re-signed captain Madison Packer through the 2023-24 season. Packer is married to the team’s former general manager, Anya Packer, who announced earlier this year that she would not be returning to the team after just one season with the team.
The news comes two days after Digit Murphy, the new president of the organization, apologized to the transgender community for her involvement with the Women’s Sports Policy Working Group in 2021. The group has been known for its anti-transgender views.
Murphy apologized first in a video provided to The Hockey News, then later backed up the apology on Twitter.
“I am sorry I have been detrimental to the entire trans community throughout this saga,” she wrote. “It’s unacceptable and I am DEDICATED to improvement. I should have been completely forthcoming from the very start about my involvement with that group so that there would be absolutely no confusion about who I truly support. Letting things go on as long as they did led to increasing confusion and damage to the trans community.
“I needed to show up for you, loudly, so there was no mistake where I stand. I did not understand this for a long time because I felt equal opportunity for all was enough. But I understand now that going the extra step to provide you support is what is real and what matters.”