Lone Star forward Kessel makes NCAA DI commitment
January 9, 2017
The Lone Star Brahmas, members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are proud to announce their second college commitment of the week as forward Peter Kessel will play NCAA Division I hockey for the College of the Holy Cross next fall.
“It’s a great school and a great program,” Kessel said. “I’m looking forward to being with [former Brahma Dalton] Skelly.”
“I can’t be more happy for him,” Head Coach Dan Wildfong said. “He stuck it out here and all the young guys that come think they are going to jump right in and he had to take a little longer route. I’m really proud of him. He’s one of the better players in this league, he’s proven it, they got a good player coming to them and I think he’s only going to get better.”
The three-year Brahma has had a bit of a rocky road to start in Texas, but it was his drive to improve and his focus both on and off the ice that helped him reach his potential. Midway through his first season with Lone Star as an 18-year-old, Kessel was not sure he wanted to continue with the Brahmas organization.
“My first year I kind of struggled and at first I wanted to get out and play somewhere else, but looking back on it, Potter texted me [after I committed] and I thanked him for not trading me because honestly being a Brahma has been the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Kessel said.
“We saw the potential in him and I don’t think he saw it in himself,” Wildfong said. “We knew he would be a Division I guy. A lot of times, guys want to take the easy way out and I think he had really good advice from his agent and his family and from us and we kind of stuck together and now he’s a big part of our team. It doesn’t happen right away, it’s a transition, and he did a really good job transitioning.”
“It’s nice to see some hard work pay off. Now I just need to work hard for the other guys because they deserve it too,” Kessel added.
That hard work is lifting him to an MVP type season offensively, scoring a team-high 21 goals and 35 points through 35 games. The Broomfield Hills, Michigan native rattled off an NAHL-high 148 shots over the same stretch.
His shooting ability undoubtedly caught Holy Cross’s attention and Wildfong went as far as saying Kessel could even play professionally after finishing his education.
“His shot is ridiculous. It’s a pro shot. When you have a pro shot and you can play with pace, that’s pretty darn good,” Wildfong said. “Those are two of the three that make you an NHL player. If he can get that third asset, we’re looking at a pro hockey player.”
Before we look too far ahead, Kessel is focusing on wrapping up his final junior hockey season and then possibly studying economics at Holy Cross.
The fact that he gets to re-unite with a former teammate in Dalton Skelly is a nice bonus to his scholarship out east.
“There are some small little sayings [me and Skelly] had in the locker room last year and I told him that we gotta keep those going. Right after I committed, I didn’t even tell him I committed, I just told him we’re going to live together for his two last years.”
Kessel has always been one of the most respected players in the Brahmas locker room throughout his tenure, which is why he is one of the captains, but he knows when it is appropriate to keep the mood lighter.
“After a win, one of us would say ‘turn on some tunes’ and the other one would say ‘I wanna hear some tunes,’ Kessel added about his relationship with Skelly. “It all dates back to one beauty named Storm Wahlrab. He started it all and we just kept on that tradition.”
Entering this weekend against the Topeka RoadRunners, Kessel is seven games away from setting the Brahmas record for most regular season games played at 129.
Last season, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound forward was an iron man, skating in all 60 regular season games and all four playoff games. In 131 career games as a Brahma (including post-season play), Kessel scored 38 goals and collected 39 assists. He said he could not have accomplished that without his support system.
“Thank you to my family, my billets, my advisor, coaches and teammates for helping me out and get this opportunity [to play college hockey].”
The Honeybaked product is also versatile as he can play both the center position and on the wing. Throughout his hockey career, Kessel has recorded as many goals as assists, and his defensive play has matured each season. That versatility will benefit the Brahmas as they chase their first ever Robertson Cup.