On June 6, for the third day in a row, the Minnesota Whitecaps made an addition to their roster for the upcoming season when they came to terms with Nicole Schammel who was a scoring star for the University of Minnesota. The two prior days they re-signed forward Jonna Curtis and netminder Amanda Leveille.
Schammel led the Golden Gophers with 47 points (16g-31a) in 39 games last season as they made it all the way to the National Championship for the tenth time in program history. “Nicole is a very intelligent hockey player. She sees the ice extremely well and has the ability to score some big goals,” said Gophers coach Brad Frost. “She will be a wonderful addition to the Whitecaps.”
A few of the Whitecaps scoring stars aren’t expected back this season as they plan on not playing in any professional leagues for a year, so the addition of someone with Schammel’s scoring prowess will hopefully aid in offsetting those losses. “From a team standpoint, the Whitecaps had an incredible first year in the NWHL and I would like to help them defend the Isobel Cup.”
Schammel Stays Home
After playing her freshman season at Minnesota State, where she led the team in scoring with 22 points (11g-11a), Schammel spent the final three seasons of her collegiate career with the Golden Gophers and finished with 91 points (39-52) in 116 games.
“Nicole is coming off a great year with the Gophers, and we are excited to have her be a part of our offense this coming season,” said Whitecaps co-coach Ronda Engelhardt. “Nicole has to make plays happen and be in the right place at the right time.”
Schammel is from Red Wing, Minnesota, and in addition to playing for the Junior Whitecaps growing up, she also finished second all-time in Minnesota state high school history with 457 points for Red Wing High School.
“I have always respected and admired what the Whitecaps have done for women’s hockey in providing women a place to play after college,” Schammel said in the press release announcing her signing. “It is important to recognize Jack Brodt and the women who have played for the Whitecaps over the past 15 years because without them this opportunity would not be available.”
She described herself as a ‘creative forward’ and the best parts of her game are her playmaking and offensive skill set. “Being a part of the Whitecaps organization is a huge honor and I could not be more excited to join the team and the NWHL. The visibility for women’s hockey has increased over the past few years. The opportunities available for women’s hockey players have improved and I hope to see these continue to grow,” said the 23-year-old who was the 23rd overall pick (Buffalo Beauts) in the 2018 NWHL Draft.
“What makes this signing so special is it highlights the meaning of the Whitecaps and why the Whitecaps became a team in the first place,” said Engelhardt of Schammel. “She is a player that had the opportunity to watch the Whitecaps when she was younger with a goal of someday getting to play for the team. She was also a part of the Jr. Whitecaps, so we couldn’t be happier that her journey has brought her here and know that she will be a valuable player for our team.”
This is what the Whitecaps roster currently looks like:
Goalie: Amanda Leveille
Forward: Allie Thunstrom, Jonna Curtis, Nicole Schammel
Beginning May 15, NWHL teams can re-sign players from their 2018-19 roster and their draft picks. Additionally, for those players who have completed their college eligibility and want to continue their hockey careers, NWHL Free Agency provides the best opportunity to continue playing at the highest level of professional women’s hockey. The fifth season of the NWHL will begin in October as the Minnesota Whitecaps look to defend their Isobel Cup championship.
My colleague Nathaniel Oliver will keep THW readers up-to-date on Buffalo and Boston’s signings throughout the summer, while I post updates on Connecticut and the Riveters. Together we will be keeping readers informed of all of Minnesota’s signings.
Dan Rice is in his 9th year of reporting for THW & has covered NJ Devils home games for 15+ years at various websites. He began his journey working for legendary broadcaster/writer Stan Fischler from 2002-04 & completed an internship at the ECHL; he also has been writing features for the NWHL (nwhl.zone) website since 2016.