After appearing in her first Olympic Games in Sochi, winning silver with Team USA and scoring three goals and three assists, Amanda Kessel found herself wondering whether she would ever play hockey again. Symptoms from a concussion she sustained prior to the 2014 Olympics returned, and she would not return to action for nearly two years.
The University of Minnesota all-star forward traveled to Pittsburgh in 2016 for treatment, the same city where her brother Phil plays for the NHL Penguins. Kessel's days of lying on the couch hoping for the pain and nausea to subside had to end, and on her doctor's recommendation, she slowly started to return to her active lifestyle – 30-minute treadmill session at a time.
With her doctors clearing her to play, Kessel returned to hockey in 2016, appearing with her Minnesota Golden Gopher teammates against the University of North Dakota. Kessel put up two assists in her return to hockey, helping Minnesota to a 3-0 win. That same year, Kessel and the Gophers went on to win the NCAA National Collegiate Women's Ice Hockey Championship.
Continuing her return to the game, Kessel signed a one-year, $26,000 contract with the NWHL’s New York Riveters in 2016, the biggest contract in the league’s short history.
Kessel was added to a U.S. national select team roster in December, scheduled to play their Canadian rivals in an exhibition as part of Team USA's first Winter Champions Series. Canada bested the U.S., 5-3 in Plymouth, Michigan.
The following April, Kessel was playing in her first world championship tournament with Team USA since 2013. Scoring one goal and five assists, Kessel was back on top with her U.S. teammates after an overtime win against Canada in the gold medal game.
“Great speed” and “shifty” is how Amanda Kessel has described her play on the ice. She not only has a tremendous shot, but also plays a selfless game, creating plays for her line mates as often as she is seen snapping the puck on goal herself.
Getting to know Amanda Kessel
In 2013, Kessel won the Patty Kazmaier Award, given to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s hockey
Teammates know to call her "Mans" for short, never "Kess." She hates it.
Attended Minnesota's "Hogwarts of Hockey," Shattuck-St. Mary's School, for high school