The Kessel family may add an MVP trophy soon. Amanda Kessel, Phil’s sister, was announced as one of the five finalists for the National Women’s Hockey League MVP. Kessel, who plays for the Metropolitan Riveters joined a talented quintet: Jonna Curtis of the Minnesota Whitecaps, Buffalo Beauts’ Maddie Elia, Gigi Marvin of the Boston Pride, and Connecticut Whale’s Meeri Räisänen.
Past winners of the MVP award include current Riveter Alexa Gruschow (2018) and former Boston Pride defense Brianna Decker (2016, 2017).
Kessel showed off her playmaking skill for the Riveters this season and lead the team with 17 points in 13 games, with 15 of those points coming as assists. She posted five assists in a 6-3 win over the Connecticut Whale on Jan. 6, and started the season with five-game point streak, racking up seven points in that span.
Kessel was not drafted by a National Women’s Hockey League team due because she graduated in 2013 before the league’s creation and league rules only covered collegiate players in their senior season. Kessel signed with the New York Riveters on May 1, 2016. Her $26,000 contract was the largest NWHL contract to date.
Kessel served as one of the two captains for the 2nd NWHL All-Star Game and scored a hat trick. The 26-year old forward was the first to accomplish the feat and won the game’s Most Valuable Player.
USA Hockey fans might remember Amanda Kessel from the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. Kessel was part of the USA Women’s Ice Hockey team which dethroned Team Canada in the Gold Medal game, 3-2. The Madison, WI native collected one assist in five games during the tournament but scored a shootout goal in the Gold Medal game to make Jocelyne Lamoureux’s game-winner possible.
Big brother Phil, who has supported his sister every step of her career was happy, and despite the obstacles in her career, she stood on a podium both physically and metaphorically.
“I’m very proud of her,” Phil told Michelle Crechiolo of PensTV. “She missed a lot of time with her concussion and stuff. To be able to win a gold medal, it’s a special accomplishment and I’m really proud of her.”
The National Women’s Hockey League, founded in 2015, holds the mission of providing strong female role models for the community while fueling the continued growth of the sport and brand of women’s hockey. The NWHL, built and led by women, has strong female leadership including the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, nearly 100 players and countless event, operations and broadcast staff each season. It attracts many of the best players in the world and allows them to pursue their careers professionally. Majority of the league’s players are college graduates and are part of the first North American hockey league that pays female athletes a salary.