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.
I definitely think going back down helped me, I had a lot of confidence down there, I played a lot of minutes and I think that helped me a lot. With the 37 games up here, that gave me experience as well. I know what it takes to play in the NHL and now it's time for me to show that I'm capable of being a full-time NHL player.
— Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl on finishing the 2014-15 season in juniors after playing 37 games with Edmonton to begin the season