The powerhouse University of Minnesota women's hockey team was looking forward to welcoming back Amanda Kessel, winner of the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Award as the top player in women's college hockey, after she missed last season to play for the silver medal-winning US Women's Olympic hockey team.
But today, Minnesota announced that Kessel will miss the entire 2014-2015 season due to lingering issues resulting from concussions she suffered while playing with the Olympic team.
Kessel was quoted in the University's press release as saying the following:
"I've had an unforgettable experience at the University of Minnesota thus far, so I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to return to the team this year. It’s obviously a difficult decision and one that I’ve taken time to come to terms with. As someone who has played through a lot of injuries, it wasn’t until suffering a concussion that I fully understood the importance of being 100% healthy when I’m on the ice. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case right now.
My number one 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."
While losing the top player in women's college hockey is a blow, Minnesota should still field one of the strongest teams in college hockey this year. It's really a loss for the entire sport of women's hockey to lose such a dynamic talent, and hopefully Kessel will be able to return to the ice after this season.