Kessel makes first NHL All-Star game

by John Hageman

Former Gophers men’s hockey player Phil Kessel was elected to his first NHL All-Star roster, the league announced Tuesday.

His 18 goals and 12 assists through 41 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs was enough for Kessel to be invited to the All-Star game in Raleigh, N.C. on Jan. 30.

In his one season with the Gophers in 2005, Kessel was named the WCHA rookie of the year for his 51 points, which was second-most on the team. He scored an equalizing goal in the NCAA regional game against Holy Cross, but the Gophers fell in overtime. Kessel was selected fifth overall in the 2006 NHL entry draft by the Boston Bruins and was traded to Toronto before the 2009 season.

A native of Madison, Wis., Kessel’s sister Amanda currently leads the Minnesota women’s hockey team in scoring as a freshman.