ELMIRA, NY - July 14, 2015 - The Elmira Jackals, ECHL affiliate of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres and the AHL's Rochester Americans, announced today that the team has signed forward Will Kessel to a Standard Player Contract for the 2015-16 season.
Kessel, 23, earned his first taste of professional hockey last season with the Kalamazoo Wings following the completion of his collegiate career at Western Michigan University. The 6-foot-2 215-pound forward recorded his first professional goal in his second pro game with the Wings on March 21st, 2015.
"Will is a big power forward that can play either the wing or down the middle," said Jackals head coach Jamie Russell. "He will be very well prepared for the jump to pro hockey as the staff at Western Michigan has a great reputation for development. This was a big recruiting battle win for the Jackals and we are excited to welcome Will to our organization. His size, tenacity and character will allow him to excel in the ECHL as we help him further his career."
Prior to turning pro, Kessel skated in all 37 games as a senior captain for the Broncos while recording career-highs in goals (7), assists (13) and points (20). In 148 NCAA games, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native registered 45 points (20 goals, 25 assists) and 85 penalty minutes while helping Western Michigan University to the CCHA Championship and a NCAA Tournament berth during the 2011-12 season.
Before attending Western Michigan University, Kessel skated with the Green Bay Gamblers of the United States Hockey League (USHL). He led the Gamblers to back-to-back Clark Cup Finals and helped Green Bay win the Clark Cup championship in 2009-10. Kessel notched 75 points (31 goals, 44 assists) and 62 penalty minutes in 112 USHL games. He was also named to the USHL All-Star Game during the 2010-11 season.
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