It’s been a long road back for Amanda Kessel.
The former Minnesota Golden Gophers star and 2013 Patty Kazmaier Award winner was injured in the lead-up to the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games, and while she played well in Sochi in helping Team USA claim silver, it was questionable if she would return to competitive hockey.
But as she embarks on a 2018 Olympics adventure in PyeongChang, Kessel is thankful for her Empire State experience as part of the National Women’s Hockey League Metropolitan Riveters.
"It was huge. After being off from hockey that much, it takes a little bit of time to get everything back and be able to compete with highly talented players," Kessel said. "Playing against the best players, it was huge in getting me to this position for the Olympic team."
Last season, Kessel signed what was then the largest contract in NWHL history with the Metropolitan Riveters. After sitting out most of the season due to injury, she played in eight games, racking up 18 points to lead the Rivs to the second seed in the postseason. Her 14 assists led the league over her eight games.