Schammel to face old team after redshirt year

The forward transferred from MSU-Mankato after her rookie season.

Gophers hockey player Nicole Schammel poses in Ridder Arena on Sunday, May, 24, 2014.

Juliet Farmer

Gophers hockey player Nicole Schammel poses in Ridder Arena on Sunday, May, 24, 2014.

Tommy Sletten

It has been a long year for Nicole Schammel.

The redshirt sophomore had to sit out due to transfer rules all of last season, but she will finally get a chance to compete against her old team — the Minnesota State-Mankato Mavericks — at her new stomping grounds.

“I think it’s exciting for her,”head coach Brad Frost said. “I’m sure there will be a little extra motivation for her and a little extra excitement to be playing the Mavericks.”

Schammel played for the Mavericks during her freshman season and was a standout player.

She led her team with 22 points on the season and had 11 goals and 11 assists. Schammel was also named WCHA Rookie of the Week twice in her freshman campaign.

Minnesota State’s head coach Eric Means resigned from his position after Schammel’s rookie season, which left the program without the coach who recruited her.

Means was a major reason why Schammel decided to play for the Mavericks, but when the Gophers called, Schammel found herself with a new and intriguing chance.

“The opportunity presented itself, and it’s hard to turn down playing for the Gophers,” Schammel said.

Schammel was forced to sit out last season as a result of NCAA transfer rules, but she said she saw it as a period of growth for her game.

The redshirt year gave her time to work out and get stronger while also bonding with her new teammates.

She also got to experience a national championship celebration in her first season with the team despite the fact that she wasn’t on the ice.

This season, Schammel has seen the ice in every game so far, supplanting herself as an important player for Minnesota.

“It’s really fun to have [Schammel] playing with us in games,” junior forward and linemate Cara Piazza said. “She definitely deserves to be on our team and she’s a big part of it.”

Piazza is also one of Schammel’s roommates and has gotten to know her extremely well over the last year.

Both Piazza and Frost cited her studiousness as a reason she succeeds both on and off the ice, as Schammel will be finishing up her undergraduate degree after this year and attend graduate school with two years of eligibility left.

Schammel has adjusted well to her new surroundings and has seen herself as a part of a great team in the making this year.

“I really enjoy playing with everyone and being a part of the Gophers,” Schammel said.