Amanda Kessel, one of the top women's hockey players in the world, will not return to the University of Minnesota to play her senior season because of concussion-related issues.
In an interview with the Star Tribune on Tuesday, Gophers women's hockey coach Brad Frost said, “After her missing last year and the severity of the concussions last year, we had a feeling that she was not going to be able to play for us unless things turned around. We’ve had some discussions with Amanda and myself, but really, it’s never even gotten to the point where hockey is something she would do with us again.”
In September 2014, Kessel announced that she would sit out the season for Minnesota, which won the NCAA title in March. At the time, she said: “My No. 1 priority is my health, and I hope that I’ll be able to return to the ice in the future. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and everyone at the university for their support.”
Kessel suffered the injury in the lead-up to the 2014 Winter Olympics, where she scored three goals and had three assists as the United States took the silver medal, losing to Canada in the title game. Her final season with the Gophers was 2012-13. She won the Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in women's hockey, scoring 101 points in 37 games.
She scored 97 goals in three seasons of college hockey.
“She’s easily one of the top three players in our program’s history,” Frost told the Star Tribune. “She is so dynamic, so crafty, sees the ice at an incredible level, passes the puck like nobody we’ve had and still has the ability to finish. Every time she was on the ice, she was a huge threat to either score or make something happen.” Frost said Kessel still plans to return to the university to finish her degree.
The Gophers, who have won the NCAA tournament three times in the last four seasons and six times overall, open their 2015-16 season at Penn State on Oct. 1. Their home opener is the following weekend against St. Cloud State.
Joe Christensen contributed to this report.