Riveters Continue Bulking, Add Olympic Goaltender Eveliina Makinen

by Justin Levine

NEWARK, NJ -- The Metropolitan Riveters have signed three-time Olympic goaltender Eveliina Makinen to a Premier Hockey Federation contract for the 2022-23 season.

“It has been amazing to see how fast the game is growing towards being more and more professional,” the backstop said. “Not only on the financial side, but everything around it. I personally want to be part of that progress and signing with the Riveters is giving me that opportunity to continue my career as a full-time athlete and a hockey player."

Makinen is a Kiukainen, Finland native who has won five international medals representing her country. She was part of bronze medal teams at the 2018 and 2022 Olympic Winter Games, and also earned bronze at the 2015 and 2017 IIHF Women’s World Championships, and silver at the 2019 event. Competing on the international stage, Makinen was also named one of Finland’s top three players at the 2013 IIHF U18 Worlds.

She spent the last four seasons playing professionally in Sweden’s SDHL, helping backstop her teams to three silver medal finishes. Makinen made her SDHL debut in 2018-19 and won silver with Linkoping HC, helping lead the club to a playoff berth with a team-best .915 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 2.37 over 27 games. Makinen continued to play a key role the following season, amassing a record of 11-20-0, with a .909 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 2.56. The backstop proceeded to sign with Leksands IF as a free agent, where she made 14 starts during the 2020-21 season before a trade to Brynas IF. Securing a silver medal in Gävle, Sweden, the 27-year-old suited up in six games, hitting a career high in save percentage, while finishing the campaign as the team’s top goaltender.

During her most recent season with Brynas IF, the five-foot-nine netminder collected a 15-3-0 record, totalling a .905 save percentage across 18 contests. She was a vital asset to the team during her tenure, backstopping them to two playoff runs, while leading them as well to consecutive second-place finishes.

Makinen previously played collegiately for four years at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, where she competed briefly with the Bulldogs women’s hockey program in 2014-15 alongside various international stars, including defender and fellow countrywoman Tea Villilä. Makinen made just one NCAA appearance, posting a save percentage of .905, while also adding a goals-against-average of 3.00.

Re-adjusting to North American ice in the PHF, Makinen provides a reliable starting option and brings a wide range of experience to the Riveters from her time with the Finnish National Team. She’s looking forward to further building on her experience, while instilling an upbeat culture within the team throughout her latest journey.

“The older you get, the more you understand that hockey is all about having fun and enjoying the game we all love,” she explained. “I hope that’s something I can bring on the ice and pass on to the fans as well.”