Each week WCHA.com will offer an update on former Western Collegiate Hockey Association players playing professional hockey. The website will also offer periodic stories on former WCHA players.
Madison Packer is one of the veterans in the National Women's Hockey League.
Packer, who won a national championship while playing at the University of Wisconsin and scored 104 points in 146 games with the Badgers, has been around pro hockey since 2015. She has played her entire career with the Metropolitan Riveters and was named to the NWHL All-Star Game twice as a forward.
Packer showed she is getting better with age over the weekend. She scored the go-ahead goal Sunday to lead the Riveters to a 2-1 victory over the Connecticut Whale. Another ex-Badger, Jordan Brickner, had an assist on the Whale's lone goal.
A day earlier Packer added an assist but the Riveters, playing for the first time in a month, fell to the league-leading and unbeaten Boston Pride 5-2. Anna Keys, a former Minnesota State defenseman, also had an assist for the Riveters who were playing their first game in a month.
In the weekend's other NWHL game, Buffalo bested Connecticut 6-2 as Minnesota State alum Sara Bustad picked up an assist for the Beauts.
Heading into December, Boston tops the standings with a 10-0-0-0 record and 20 points, eight points ahead of Buffalo which is 5-4-1-0. Defending champion Minnesota has a 4-3-0-1 record and nine points, five more than the Metropolitan Riveters who are 1-5-1-0. Connecticut has a 0-8-0-1 record and one point.
There are a number of the former WCHA players among the scoring leaders in the NWHL. Minnesota's Nicole Schammel, a former University of Minnesota star, is tenth in scoring with six goals, six assists and 12 points. Another ex-Gopher, Sydney Baldwin of the Whitecaps and Gopher alum, is 16th with four goals, five assists and nine points while Packer is 18th in the scoring derby with four goals, four assists and eight points.
Leveille, is second among NWHL goaltenders with four wins and is fourth with a 3.13 goals-against average and a save percentage of .903.
NWHL play resumes Saturday when Boston travels to play the Metropolitan Riveters. Connecticut hosts the Riveters Sunday. Minnesota is idle until Dec. 14 when it hosts the Riveters in a two-game series.
There are 19 WCHA alumnae playing in the five-team United States-based NWHL, about half as many as a year ago after an off-season when the women's professional leagues underwent a re-shuffling.
Over the summer the landscape of professional women's hockey changed with the Canadian Women's Hockey League folding. The NWHL marches on, however, despite many of the bigger names in the sport playing in the PWHPA Dream Gap Tour that was organized by the women's players' union. The PWHPA announced another tour for January. The story is here: https://www.thestar.com/sports/hockey/2019/11/20/womens-hockey-union-announces-second-dream-gap-tour-stop-in-toronto.html.
The Whitecaps feature 15 former WCHA players. There are four former St. Cloud State players and one each from Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota State and Bemidji State on the Whitecaps roster. (The list of NWHL players is below).
Wisconsin has two former players in the NWHL – one each in Connecticut and with the Riveters. Buffalo's roster includes one former Minnesota State player and the Metropolitan Riveters also have one Minnesota State alum. Former Minnesota State goalie Laura Brennan is an assistant coach with the Whale.
Here are the WCHA alums on NWHL rosters as of Dec. 1:
Buffalo: Sara Bustad, Minnesota State
Connecticut: Jordan Brickner, Wisconsin. Laura Brennan, Minnesota State (assistant coach).
Metropolitan: Madison Packer, Wisconsin; Anna Keys, Minnesota State.
Minnesota: Stephanie Anderson, Bemidji State; Sydney Baldwin, Minnesota; Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal, Minnesota; Haylea Schmid, St. Cloud State; Lisa Martinson, St. Cloud State; Meaghan Pezon, St. Cloud State; Kalli Funk, St. Cloud State; Lauren Barnes, Minnesota State; Emma Stauber, Minnesota Duluth; Winny Brodt Brown, Minnesota; Amanda Leveille, Minnesota; Nicole Schammel, Minnesota; Nina Rodgers, Minnesota, Meghan Lorence, Minnesota and Kelsey Cline, Minnesota.