MINNEAPOLIS – Two-time All-American and 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner Amanda Kessel has officially returned to the Golden Gopher women’s hockey team for the remainder of the 2015-16 season, University of Minnesota women’s hockey head coach Brad Frost announced today.

Kessel last played for the Gophers during the 2012-13 season, during which Minnesota recorded a perfect 41-0-0 mark and won its fifth national title. The Madison, Wis., native took a redshirt year in 2013-14 to represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Kessel then missed the 2014-15 season while recovering from a concussion. The 2015-16 season marks her final year of eligibility.

“We're excited to have Amanda returning to the lineup," Frost said. "Her recovery and overall health have always been most important, and we weren't sure if she would have the opportunity to play college hockey again. Knowing that Amanda and the team of doctors working with her have determined she is healthy and ready to resume playing is certainly great news. She has always been a part of our program, and we're happy she has a chance to finish out her college career on the ice along with completing her coursework and getting her degree this spring.”

“I’m so happy to be playing hockey again,” Kessel said. “I’m not suffering from any concussion symptoms, and I’ve been evaluated by a number of physicians who have cleared me to play. I feel great, and I'm looking forward to being back on the ice with my teammates on game day.

“Sometimes difficult things happen in life, and they only make you stronger. It was extremely challenging, but I did everything I could to get healthy. I’m grateful for everyone who helped and supported me throughout the difficult times. I wouldn't be in this position without them. I cannot wait to be back out there doing what I love to do while representing the University of Minnesota.”

During the 2012-13 season, Kessel led the nation in scoring with a career-high 101 points (46g-55a) and collected the top accolades in women’s hockey, including being named the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award winner, 2013 USA Hockey Bob Allen Women's Player of the Year, CCM/AHCA First-Team All-American, USCHO.com Co-Player of the Year, and WCHA Player of the Year.

Kessel has appeared in 114 career games for Minnesota from 2010-11 to 2012-13. She ranks fifth in Gopher program history with 231 career points, tied for fifth with 97 career goals, and ranks third with 134 career assists.

The No. 3 Gophers (24-3-0, 19-3-0 WCHA) welcome No. 8 North Dakota (14-8-4, 11-7-4-2 WCHA) to Ridder Arena this weekend. The Gophers and Fighting Hawks face off at 6 p.m. CT Friday and 4 p.m. CT Saturday.

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