Competing in his first Olympic games, Kessel will be playing under head coach Ron Wilson and GM Brian Burke - his management staff with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
He was a member of three consecutive World Championship teams (2006, 2007 and 2008), leading the team in scoring with six goals in 2008. His line, with Zach Parise and Patrick Kane, combined for 28 points (14-14-28) and 44% of the team’s total scoring in seven games.
Kessel led the tournament with 10 assists (1-10-11) in seven games at the 2006 World Junior Championships held in Vancouver. The U.S. team, which also featured 2010 Olympians Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson and Bobby Ryan, finished fourth after a bronze medal loss to Finland.
He was honored with the Bob Johnson Award at the 2005 USA Hockey Annual Congress for excellence in international hockey during a specific season of play.
His sister, Amanda, was a member of the 2008 team that captured the United States’ first-ever Women’s World Under-18 Championship gold medal.
He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.
— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers