Amanda Kessel has signed a contract with the New York Riveters for the 2016-17 season, General Manager Chad Wiseman announced Sunday. Kessel and the Riveters agreed to terms on a one-year, $26,000 contract.
Per Jen Neale of Puck Daddy, there is no longer a league maximum contract as there was in the first year, with player contracts capped at $26,000. Instead, there is simply a contract minimum of $10,000.
“Amanda is a proven scorer and winner at every level,” said Wiseman. “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.”
Kessel (Minnesota) scored 248 points (108g, 140a) in 127 NCAA games, and was the recipient of the 2013 Patty Kazmaier Award. With USA Hockey, she earned a silver medal at the 2012 IIHF World Championship and gold in 2013. Kessel led the team with 6 points (3g, 3a) the 2014 Olympics, where they won silver. The forward recently won the NCAA National Championship with Minnesota, where she scored the game-winning goal.
“I am beyond excited to join the New York Riveters and the NWHL next season,” said Kessel. “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.”
“I’m thrilled for a new opportunity and challenge,” Kessel continued. “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.”
Signing Kessel is an enormous coup for the league, which has been in headlines recently for a lawsuit levied against it that threatens its second season. Adding Kessel, a Patty Kazmaier winner to the roster of its last-place team not only shores up the Riveters offensively, something fans worried about after Wiseman traded Alex Carpenter to Boston, but also reinforces fan confidence in the eventuality of a second season.
Restricted free agency began April 1 and lasted until April 30. Free agency began May 1 and lasts until July 31. The 2016 NWHL Draft is June 18.