In case you missed it , I will be highlighting a player from Team USA and Team Canada leading up to the Vancouver Olympics. Today's player, from Team USA, is Phil Kessel.
As product of USA Hockey's National Team Development Program (NTDP), Phil has been able to compete against players that were stronger, faster, older, and had more experience. He played for both the Under-17 and Under-18 teams between 2003 and 2005, while amassing franchise records for goals (104), most points (180), and the most goals in a season (52) whom he shares with Team USA teammate Patrick Kane. It should also be noted that he recorded 62 points in 47 games while playing for Team USA in the World Junior Championships and the Under 18 World Junior Championships.
From there he went on to play with the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Western Collegiate Hockey League (WCHA). While with the Gophers, he was awarded the WCHA rookie of the year, made the WCHA's all rookie team, and helped his stacked Gopher's team win the MacNaughton Cup during the 2005-06 season.
From there he went on to play for the Boston Bruins during the 2006-07 season. He started the season off with the Bruins, but needed a stop in Providence for a rehab stint after undergoing surgery to remove testicular cancer. That same season, he was named to the NHL's all rookie team and won the Masterson Trophy for his dedication to the game of hockey.
At the end of the 2008-09 season it was determined that Phil needed shoulder surgery. But before he could play another game for the Bruins, and over a contract dispute, he was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 2 first and 1 second round picks. He returned to a Leafs team that was unable to put the wins on the board, and instantly added a more offensive punch to their lineup.
As always, Phil's cards and those of many other players can be purchased through Pat's Cards at Sportsbuy.com and Checkoutmycards.com.
2009-10 Upper Deck #1