Jackals ink rookie forward Kessel

ELMIRA, N.Y. – The Elmira Jackals, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and the AHL’s Rochester Americans, announced that the team has signed forward Will Kessel 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 K-Wings on March 21.

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 career NCAA games, the Bloomfield Hills, Mich. native registered 45 points (20g-25a) 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. 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 (31g-44a) and 62 penalty minutes in 112 USHL games. He was also named to the USHL All-Star Game during the 2010-11 season.