Sunday, July 26, 2009

2005-06 University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Phil Kessel Jersey

July by the Numbers enters the home stretch as we reach jersey #26.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Phil Kessel was a member of the U. S. National Under-18 Team based in Ann Arbor, Michigan and surprisingly chose to play his college hockey at the University of Minnesota over his hometown Wisconsin Badgers - a choice that did not go down well with the Badger faithful upon his return to Madison.

The Under-18 team, along with the Under-17 team, comprises the National Team Development Program (NTDP) operated by USA Hockey. Both teams are made up of players who have survived tryouts and have been judged the most talented in the nation in their age groups. Both teams compete in the top junior hockey league in the United States, the United States Hockey League (USHL), with the U-18 team also playing a longer schedule with the addition of select games versus various NCAA college teams as well as the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 World Championships, which the USA has won in four of the 11 years the championship has been contested.

Notable players who have gone through the NTDP include NHLers Rick DiPietro, Patrick Kane, Erik Johnson, Keith Ballard, John-Michael Liles, Jack Johnson, Mike Komisarek, Matt Carle, Patrick Eaves, Ryan Suter and the aforementioned Phil Kessel.

Kessel would also compete in the World Juniors (for players under 20 years of age) as an 18 year old in 2005 and again as a 19 year old in 2006 where he was the tournament's leading scorer overall, with 11 points in seven games, a tournament that included future Pittsburgh Penguin star Evgeni Malkin and future Washington Capital Nicklas Backstrom.

He would finish his career with the NTDP with the record for Most Career Goals (104), most points (180) and the single season record for goals (52).

In the 2005-06 season Kessel would finish second in scoring for the Gophers with 18 goals and 33 assists for 51 points as a freshman, second only on the club to First Team All-American Ryan Potulny.

After just one season in college, Kessel would turn pro and enter the NHL with the Boston Bruins. He would be diagnosed with cancer and undergo surgery on December 12th of his rookie season, amazingly returning to the lineup after missing only 12 games. In 70 games that year, Phil would score 11 goals and 18 assists for 29 points. During the campaign, he would tie the record held by Ed Olczyk for the longest point streak by a rookie at 18 games. Following the season, Kessel would be named as the recipient of the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy for his perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey, the first rookie to ever win the award.

After the completion of the 2006-07 season Kessel would once more put on a Team USA sweater in the World Championships in Moscow, Russia and again in 2008 in Quebec City in Canada.

The jersey I am featuring today is am Easton 2005-06 University of Minnesota Phil Kessel home jersey, the only season this style of jersey was worn.

To be honest, it's not my favorite Gophers style due to the size and shape of the maroon shoulder areas, but it did look better on the ice than it does laying flat. Still, I was not disappointed when they changed again to a much more attractive style the following season.

One aspect if this style that I do like is the name on the back being located inside the enlarged shoulder area in a different color than the numbers.

Minnesota Gophers 05-06 H F
Minnesota Gophers 05-06 H B
Minnesota Gophers 05-06 H P

Here's a classic highlight of Phil giving it back to the Wisconsin fans on his return to Madison after being booed all game long.

This video features Kessel talking about his love of hockey.

Here are a pair of videos about Phil and dealing with cancer.

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