(Windsor, ON) – Mark Packwood has rediscovered his passion for hockey and is thrilled to be the new Head Athletic Therapist of the Windsor Spitfires.
General Manager Warren Rychel announced the hiring earlier today in a move that fills the void left by the recently-departed Joey Garland, who served as the Club’s AT for 13 full seasons.
Originally from Thorold, Ontario, Packwood, 29, played 40 games for the Kitchener Rangers and Oshawa Generals over parts of four seasons, between 2004 and 2008, before wrapping his career on the ice with a couple seasons at Brock University.
It wasn’t long after he hung up the blades that Packwood gravitated toward the field of Sports Medicine. After graduating with a degree in Kinesiology from Brock, he’s tacked on a pair of Masters Degrees from the University of Western Ontario in London along with dozens of professional development courses.
It was during his years at Western that Packwood began working with the London Knights; helping out at mini-camps, training camps and providing injury treatment services.
Suddenly, his love for the game returned.
“To be honest, when I was done playing, I lost a little passion,” Packwood said. “My junior career didn’t go the way I wanted. But then I got into coaching a bit and eventually into therapy and it started to become a big part of my life again.”
Packwood says he’s excited to immerse himself back into the culture.
“To be able to be back and to experience things again. The winning and losing. The ups and downs. To have the excitement back and the emotion. It’s a motivator for me.”
It’s the kind of enthusiasm that caught Rychel’s eye when it came time to hire someone.
“Mark played in the league and has been around the game a long time,” Rychel began. “But what really impressed me was his intelligence and his commitment. He’s got more than enough education to be here and now the practical experience to replace Joey (Garland), who, let’s face it, is a hard act to follow.”
Packwood says he’s got a great deal of respect for Garland, who has been nothing but accommodating.
“When I met Joey, the big thing that stuck out for me was I couldn’t believe how humble he was,” Packwood offered. “For all the success he has had, he’s completely down to earth and has been totally helpful. I’d heard from people not only that he’s a great therapist, but also a great guy. And it’s all true.”
“I’ve got big shoes to fill. I only hope I can attain even some of things he’s done. I hope to be part of something special here.”