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Penguins

Amanda Kessel signs with New Jersey team, could visit Western Pa.

Jonathan Bombulie
| Monday, June 4, 2018, 11:42 a.m.
Amanda Kessel celebrates a goal in the NWHL All-Star game Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Amanda Kessel celebrates a goal in the NWHL All-Star game Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex.

Olympic star Amanda Kessel is making her return to pro hockey.

The 27-year-old forward signed a one-year contract with the Metropolitan Riveters, a National Women's Hockey League team based in New Jersey, the league announced Monday.

Perhaps the biggest star in women's hockey, Kessel took last season off from the pro game to prepare for the winter Olympics, in which she and her U.S. teammates won gold. The year before, she had 18 points in eight games with the Riveters.

“I want to keep this momentum going in the NWHL,” Kessel said in a release. “I want the next generation of women's hockey players to see that a professional career in hockey is possible. The future for women's hockey and the NWHL is bright, and I'm looking forward to what's to come.”

Kessel, who is the sister of Penguins winger Phil Kessel, could play in Western Pennsylvania at some point next season as well. The league announced it will play a neutral-site game in the Pittsburgh area for the third consecutive year.

In 2017, Kessel was named MVP of the league's all-star game, which was held at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex. Last season, the rink in Cranberry played host to a regular-season game between Buffalo and Connecticut.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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