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WOMEN'S HOCKEY: Gopher star Kessel won't play senior season

Amanda Kessel's college career is over.

The former Patty Kazmaier Award winner, who led the University of Minnesota in scoring for three seasons, will not play out her senior year, Gopher coach Brad Frost confirmed to the Herald.

Kessel, 23, sustained a concussion while playing for the U.S. National Team and hasn't played hockey since the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. She sat out last season with concussion-like symptoms and hasn't participated in any U.S. National Team activities since Sochi.

Kessel used her first redshirt to play in the Winter Olympics and her second one last year, closing the door for any future return to college hockey.

Kessel, of Madison, Wis., did not attend school last year. Frost said she may try to finish school this year at Minnesota, though she won't be playing hockey.

"It's just not worth it for her and her health," Frost said.

During her three seasons in college hockey, Kessel was one of the country's most dynamic players, racking up 97 goals and 231 points. As a junior, Kessel tallied 101 points, becoming the first Gopher to reach triple digits in a season since Natalie Darwitz and Krissy Wendell in 2004-05. Darwitz and Wendell both played in the Winter Olympics in 2006 and decided against returning for their senior seasons the following year.

Kessel won the Patty Kazmaier Award during that 101-point season, leading Minnesota to a perfect 41-0 record and a national championship. The Gophers won national titles during her final two seasons.

Despite not having Kessel a year ago, Minnesota still won another national title, beating Harvard in the final. The Gophers went 34-3-4. Minnesota returns all but three regulars this season and will be expected to contend for another title.

Kessel, who sustained the concussion before the Olympics but was cleared to play, tied for the team lead in scoring with six points in five games, while earning a silver medal with Team USA. Kessel also has a gold medal and a silver medal in the IIHF World Championships with the Americans.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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