Amanda Kessel signs one-year deal with NHWL's New York Riveters

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(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

The New York Riveters made Amanda Kessel the highest paid player in the NWHL signing the Minnesota Golden Gophers forward to a one-year $26,000 contract the team announced Sunday.

Kessel is one of the top players in women’s hockey, recently completing her career at the University of Minnesota with 248 points in 136 games played. In her time with the Golden Gophers, Kessel was a two-time All-American and 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner.

Kessel scored the game-winning goal in leading her team to a national championship over Boston College this year.

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Kessel, 24, missed the entire 2014-15 season, and most of 2015-16, after suffering a concussion before the Sochi Olympics. She redshirted the 2013-14 season to take part in the Olympics,  where she still played and led United States to a silver medal with three goals and three assists in five games. 

In February, Kessel, a Madison, Wisconsin native, returned to the Minnesota lineup and produced with 11 goals and 17 points in 13 games played. 

“I am beyond excited to join the New York Riveters and the NWHL next season,” said Kessel in a statement. “It is a great opportunity to help the league continue to grow and be a future dream for young girls. The fact that little girls can now say they want to play in the NWHL is inspirational for me and the future of women's hockey.”

Added Kessel “I'm thrilled for a new opportunity and challenge. 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.” 

Not only is Kessel a talented hockey player, she has a good sense of humor. Earlier in the year she trolled a fan who was ripping her play for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the New York Islanders in a derogatory way. Amanda is the sister of Pens star winger Phil Kessel and she just happened to play along  with the disparaging tweets and made the fan look worse.

Kessel should give a big boost to the Riveters, a team that finished the year with 10 points, fewest in the NWHL. The Boston Pride defeated the Riveters in the Isobel Cup semifinal en-route to winning the league’s inaugural championship.

“Amanda is a proven scorer and winner at every level,” Riveters general manager Chad Wiseman said in a statement. “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."

Last season Connecticut’s Kelli Stack was the NWHL’s highest-paid player, making $25,000. Boston Pride forward Hilary Knight made $22,000. 

NWHL restricted free agency began April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and lasts until July 31.

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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