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Amanda Kessel signs with NWHL's New York Riveters

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
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DURHAM, NH - MARCH 20: Amanda Kessel #8 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers raises the championship trophy after winning the 2016 NCAA Division I Women's Hockey Frozen Four Championship against the Boston College Eagles at the Whittemore Center Arena on March 20, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) Author: The Hockey News

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Amanda Kessel signs with NWHL's New York Riveters

Daniel Nugent-Bowman
By:

Retirement from hockey seemed likely for Amanda Kessel after battling concussions for the better part of two seasons. But a surprise return to action in February has now sparked a pro career.

Retirement from hockey seemed likely for Amanda Kessel after battling concussions for the better part of two seasons. But a surprise return to action in February has now sparked a pro career.

Kessel, the younger sister of Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Phil Kessel, signed a one-year, $26,000 contract with the NWHL’s New York Riveters, the team announced Sunday. The deal is for the 2016-17 season.

“I'm thrilled for a new opportunity and challenge,” Kessel said in a news release on the Riveters website. “New York is going to be a great spot for me. I'm a competitor and I love to win, so I hope to bring my experience and contribute to a winning team and culture.”

Kessel was considered arguably the most dominant player in women’s hockey three years ago. She racked up 46 goals in as many games – to go along with 101 points – for the University of Minnesota Gophers in 2012-13. However, she suffered a concussion while redshirting to train with Team USA ahead of the Sochi Olympics. She played in the Games and led the Americans in scoring, but post-concussions symptoms forced her to sit out all of last season.

Kessel was expected sit out again this season – her final one of NCCA eligibility – but made her return to the Gophers lineup on Feb. 5. She picked up right where she left off, scoring 11 goals and adding six assists in 13 games, helping the Gophers win a national championship.

The 24-year-old will continue her career in the fall with the Riveters, who are one of four teams in the NWHL. The Riveters finished in last place during the league’s inaugural campaign with 10 points and lost to the eventual champion Boston Pride in a semifinal matchup.

“Amanda is a proven scorer and winner at every level,” Riveters GM Chad Wiseman said in a release. “She is an offensive threat every time she is on the ice. We believe signing Amanda is an important first step in addressing our biggest off season need.”

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Amanda Kessel signs with NWHL's New York Riveters