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Girls Hockey: Schammel, Stegora commit to MSU-Mankato

Red Wing’s Nicole Schammel and Emily Stegora each signed their national letter of intent to play for Minnesota State University, Mankato women’s hockey Wednesday at Red Wing High School. (Republican Eagle photo by Joe Brown)

In one of the biggest decisions of their respective lives, best friends Nicole Schammel and Emily Stegora are excited to be doing it together.

On Wednesday, the Red Wing girls hockey duo each signed their letter of intent to play at Minnesota State University, Mankato and will begin play in the 2014-15 season.

“Signing your life away is a lot easier when your best friend is doing it with you,” Schammel said with a laugh.

Stegora added, “I’m excited for it. Knowing someone at Mankato, it’ll be easier to make friends with your best friend there.”

Aside from the camaraderie off the ice, Schammel and Stegora have been one of the state’s most formidable pair. Along with line mate Reagan Haley, Schammel and Stegora played on the highest scoring line in Minnesota last season. Schammel was the state’s top scorer in 2012-13 with 104 points (61 goals, 43 assists), and Stegora was tied for eighth with 36 assists to go with 25 goals.

“What’s really great about it is they really complement each other,” said Wingers’ head coach Scott Haley. “Emily is a very gifted athlete. She uses her athleticism, size and speed to her advantage. Nicole really utilizes her hockey skills with her hands and her shot.

“They really complement each other well and it’ll be really fun watching them play for the next four years to see what Coach (Eric) Means does with them.”

Things have not slowed down for Schammel, Stegora and the rest of the Red Wing lineup as the team has started the season with a pair of wins over Chisago Lakes and St. Paul United.

With the signings of Schammel and Stegora, along with former Wingers Rose Alleva (Princeton) and Paige Haley (Minnesota) also playing Division I, the program keeps growing in visibility.

“It’s a credit to the hard work these two have put in, and it does great things for our program,” Scott Haley said. “It gives some of our younger players somebody to look up to.”

Early on, Minnesota State has had trouble gaining traction, starting the season 0-6 in the Western Collegiate Hockey Conference (WCHA), 3-7 overall. Last year, the team finished sixth in the eight-team WCHA, going 6-17-5 in conference play and 10-21-5 overall.

But the friends aren’t ready to swap their Winger purple for the purple and gold of the Mavericks quite yet.

“(Mankato)’s getting better and I keep track of how they’re doing,” Schammel said, “but right now, the focus is the high school season.”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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