FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2022
K-WINGS MOURN THE LOSS OF KEVIN SCHAMEHORN
KALAMAZOO, MI – It is with great sadness that the Kalamazoo Wings mourn the loss of one of their all-time greats, Kevin (Schammy) Schamehorn, who passed away in the evening yesterday at the age of 66. The franchise's all-time leader in points scored (474) was a cornerstone member of the team that brought the Turner Cup home to Kalamazoo in 1978-79. Schamehorn played parts of seven seasons in Kalamazoo, and carved an 894 game career across 13 seasons that spanned three separate decades before retirement at age 33. Schamehorn’s No. 26 was retired and lifted to the Wings Event Center rafters on October 26, 2018. Kevin is survived by his wife Natalia and his three daughters, Taylor, Hunter, and Tara.
“On behalf of the entire Kalamazoo Wings organization, we are saddened by the loss of Kevin Schamehorn,” said Kalamazoo Wings General Manager and Governor Toni Will. “He was such an important part of the K-Wings heritage, and his passing will be felt by every single person who had the pleasure to be part of Kevin's life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Kevin's entire family during this difficult time.”
Born in Calgary, AB, on July 28, 1956, Kevin spent much of his early childhood moving across Canada and even to Europe with his parents and two siblings while his father served in the Army. Schamehorn first learned to skate at Fort Churchill in Manitoba and knew he wanted to become a professional hockey player when his father was stationed at Fort Borden, located outside of Toronto, after meeting with the Toronto Maple Leafs at age 15. It was there he was noticed by the New Westminster Bruins (WCHL) scouting staff in 1973-74 and was then sent to Bellingham, Washington, to play in the BCJHL. Starting at age 16, Schamehorn played a year and a half in Bellingham and New Westminster before being drafted by both the Detroit Red Wings (NHL | RD 4, #58 overall) and the Houston Aeros (WHA | RD 6, #70 overall) in 1976.
After a conversation with his father, Schamehorn decided to join the Red Wings to continue the pursuit of his dream of playing in the NHL. His first taste of Kalamazoo came that summer as Detroit held its training camp at Wings Stadium in 1976-77. Kevin was then assigned to the K-Wings at the end of Red Wings camp and began his K-Wings legacy in the IHL. Schamehorn flourished under the tutelage of former K-Wings Head Coach Bob Lemieux, scoring 27 goals with 32 assists in 77 games played in 1976-77. No. 26 also earned his first call-up to the Red Wings on New Year's Eve versus the Cleveland Barons in 1976, playing three games total with Detroit that season. Kevin then split the 1977-78 season with the K-Wings and Kansas City Red Wings (CHL) before exploding in Kalamazoo’s next season to help bring the first of two straight championships home to Kalamazoo.
Alongside Tommy Milani and Tommy Ross, Schamehorn scored 102 points (45 goals, 57 assists) in 1978-79, and their line combined for an astounding 324 points (144 goals, 180 assists) and 374 penalty minutes. Kevin then spent the entire 1979-80 season with the Adirondack Red Wings, and also played two games with the big club that season. The following season, Schamehorn’s contract was one of 30 contracts bought out by the Red Wings’ new ownership in Mike Illitch.
Kevin then joined the Los Angeles Kings organization in 1980-81, and played for Rochester (AHL), Houston (CHL), and suited up in five games for the Kings. Schamehorn then returned to the K-Wings and played the next four years of his career at Wings Stadium. In that span, Kevin scored 148 goals and notched 130 assists with 499 penalty minutes in 290 games played. Following the 1984-85 season, Schamehorn played three campaigns with Milwaukee and scored another 82 goals with 69 assists for the Admirals prior to finishing the 1987-88 season with the Flint Spirits. Schamehorn then went into the pizza industry for a year, before returning to the Kalamazoo Wings for his final season in 1989-90.
Unfortunately, Kevin broke his wrist on his first shift that season, via a cross-check against the Milwaukee Admirals, and only skated in nine games for Kalamazoo. Schamehorn scored one goal and added two assists, and walked away as Kalamazoo’s franchise record holder in games played (495), points (474), tied with Mike Wanchuk for No. 1 all-time in goals scored (239), No. 2 in assists (235), and No. 3 in penalty minutes (1,202).
Off the ice, Kevin met his wife Natalia shortly after retirement, and the two remained married until his passing. Schamehorn then coached hockey and worked for a company that supplied X-Ray film to local hospitals until his marriage. Once married, Schamehorn worked on a golf course for 10-plus years in Sturgis, MI. The couple then decided they wanted to raise their family in Kalamazoo, and the Schamehorn family moved back with their three daughters. Kevin was also a revered and loved member of the Kalamazoo Wings Alumni Club, and never stopped working with and supporting the K-Wings. Schamehorn recently became an American citizen and worked for Graphic Packaging from the time he moved back to Kalamazoo until just recently stepping away.
“Kevin was an incredible ambassador for Kalamazoo Wings Hockey and a cornerstone member of our alumni corps & community,” said Kalamazoo Wings Director of Hockey Operations and Head Coach Joel Martin. “His contributions to our organization are marked throughout our record books and in the hearts of everyone that he interacted with. We’re proud that his No. 26 will always look down on us as we compete. Our deepest sympathies go out to Natalia, Taylor, Hunter, and Tara.”
The Kalamazoo Wings are a professional hockey team located in southwest Michigan that has been a staple in the Kalamazoo, MI professional sports landscape since 1974. The K-Wings compete in the ECHL and are the AA affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Columbus Blue Jackets and the American Hockey League’s Cleveland Monsters. Kalamazoo plays their 36 regular season home games at Wings Event Center from October through April.