2 Kessels named to US Olympic hockey teams

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 1, 2014 at 5:43 pm •  Published: January 1, 2014
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It was a big day for the Kessel family.

Right after Amanda Kessel was named to the women's hockey team that will represent the United States at the Sochi Olympics, her brother Phil — a forward for the Toronto Maple Leafs — earned a place on the U.S. men's team.

"It's a neat experience," said Phil Kessel, whose Maple Leafs beat the Detroit Red Wings in the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, where the Olympic teams were announced. "We'll see how it goes over there."

Phil Kessel, 26, was a first-round draft pick by the Boston Bruins in 2006 who was traded to Toronto in 2009 and now leads the Maple Leafs in scoring with 38 points in 42 games. He also played for the American team that won a silver medal at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.

Amanda Kessel, 21, will be heading to her first Olympics. She was the top scorer in the NCAA last season with 101 points in 37 games while leading the Minnesota Golden Gophers to the national championship and earning the Patty Kazmaier award as the top player in NCAA women's hockey. She is one of five members of Team USA to have won the women's hockey Heisman.

"We'd like to play a very up-tempo game, so that's really what the profile of our roster looks like," coach Katey Stone said. "Amanda fits into that style very well."

The women's roster was announced during the break between periods of the Winter Classic, and the men's team was announced after the game. Former Harvard star Julie Chu, the 2007 Kazmaier winner, is heading to her fourth Olympics and looking for a gold medal to go with the two silvers and a bronze she's already got.

"Today is an important day for our team and we're thrilled to continue our journey toward Sochi," Stone said. "We have a good blend of veterans and first-time Olympians and we're excited about what lies ahead. We're enthusiastic about our team and focused on getting better every day."

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