Amanda Kessel headlines the U.S. women’s hockey roster for the world championship next month in Plymouth, Mich., the latest step in her return from a 2013 concussion.
The team, with new coach Robb Stauber, also includes Hilary Knight, a two-time Olympic silver medalist who was MVP of the last two world championships, both won by the U.S.
In fact, the U.S. has won three straight world titles dating to Kessel’s last worlds appearance in 2013 and is going for its first four-peat since the tournament began in 1990. Canada, as always, should be the toughest challenge.
Kessel, 25, hasn’t skated for the U.S. national team in major competition since the Sochi Olympics, missing nearly two years of game play due to the effects of a concussion suffered several months before playing at the 2014 Winter Games.
Kessel returned to complete her University of Minnesota career last winter and debuted professionally for the NWHL’s New York Riveters this season.
Kessel was named to the U.S. roster for the Four Nations Cup in the fall but was replaced at the last minute due to an undisclosed lower-body injury. Kessel did play in a home-and-home series with Canada in December.
She returned to her pro team in January and has tallied a goal or an assist in all seven of her NWHL games this season.
Stauber, a backup Los Angeles Kings goalie in the early 1990s, took over head coaching duties from longtime NHL defenseman Ken Klee last fall. Klee guided the U.S. to the 2015 and 2016 World titles after replacing Sochi Olympic coach Katey Stone.
The U.S. roster for worlds lacks stalwarts Julie Chu, a four-time Olympian, and Jessie Vetter, its No. 1 goalie at the last two Olympics.
Chu hasn’t played for the U.S. since the Sochi Olympics but also hasn’t announced a retirement from international competition. She is now coaching at the college level, while also playing professionally.
Vetter will miss an Olympics or worlds for the first time since the 2006 Torino Winter Games. Vetter recently had a baby but, as of last fall, had not retired despite August reports to the contrary, according to USA Hockey.
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