Morristown's Bruce Shatel: A Legacy of Success

Credits: Photo courtesy of Bruce Shatel

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Can you imagine having eight times as many career coaching wins as losses? How about having 356 career coaching wins to your name in a mere 15 seasons?

Imagine now what it would feel like to coach a team to a state championship victory. Now, imagine coaching a team to six straight—and nine overall.

For Bruce Shatel, there’s no need to imagine any of that. That’s his reality.

Sign Up for E-News

Shatel has been the head coach of the Delbarton varsity ice hockey program for 15 seasons. Out of the 11 state championships won by the Delbarton Green Wave, Shatel has been at the helm for nine of them. The six consecutive state titles for Delbarton (from 2008 to 2013) are a New Jersey state record, in fact.

Delbarton won its most recent New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) Non-Public state title on March 7, 2016.

Nevertheless, Shatel rarely focuses on his personal accolades. Although he is aware of his standout accomplishments, broken records, and ever-climbing stats, he does not dwell on the past. He recognizes that Delbarton’s 2014 outdoor game at Yankee Stadium, part of the NHL’s Stadium Series, was a particularly memorable career highlight, and that each one of the team’s state championships similarly was a “thrill,” as he puts it. However, he is ever looking forward—to the next day, to the next game, and to the next way in which he can inspire, push, and ultimately develop the young athletes he coaches.

“I’m very proud of the teams I’ve coached and their accomplishments,” said Shatel. “When you’re still coaching and you’re in the moment, you don’t take a break and reflect. I concentrate on my current team. I get a thrill out of developing the team and watching them play together.”

“We don’t talk about the state championship,” Shatel added. “We talk about the next day. The goal is to get better every day. I want to get better as a coach because I want the kids to benefit from that.”

Shatel believes that the truly exceptional athletes are ones who “work hard and are disciplined.” They are selfless, and they have the ability to compete at a higher level while maintaining a team-first mentality.

“We like kids who are responsible both on and off the ice,” said Shatel, who noted how much he values the opportunity to coach with his assistant coaches, Craig Wicker and Jerry Brophy. “We try to instill good values in our players. We like kids who put the team first and their own accomplishments second.”

Shatel is a firm believer in the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete over a single-sport one. According to Shatel, not only is the additional conditioning important, but having experience in other pressure situations is beneficial to an athlete’s performance across all sports. His personal recommendation is for an individual to play at least two sports.

In terms of conditioning, Shatel sees dryland training as critical to a team's success, as it refines skill sets, builds strength, improves speed and agility, and has an valuable impact on overall team bonding and team chemistry. The Delbarton ice hockey squad participates in team training sessions at Next Level Training, an athletic training and fitness center in Cedar Knolls, where many of the team's individual athletes train as well.

“Any time any kids see each other outside of the rink, that’s an advantage for team chemistry,” said Shatel. “The individual himself also makes significant strides in terms of speed and agility.”

He particularly noted how Delbarton's conditioning proved advantageous to the team this season in terms of strong third period performances—ones that ultimately helped them win games.

“We pride ourselves on being a third period team,” said Shatel. “Without the off-ice training at Next Level, that area would be compromised.”

Attracted to Next Level because of the facility's unique offerings, specialized equipment, and elite training, Shatel has seen noticeable improvements in his athletes—especially in terms of their level of physicality, shooting, and puck protection—as a result of their training.

“There’s no other facility like it in the area in terms of resources and equipment," said Shatel. “The level of training there is second to none. In all my players, I’ve seen significant gains in the off-season. Their workout experiences at Next Level are challenging and help to build mental toughness. They need to be healthy and maintain strength. Next Level has been great for them in terms of injury prevention.”

In fact, he cited injury prevention as one of the most noticeable and crucial benefits of the team's off-ice training at Next Level.

“There was not one significant shoulder injury on our team this year. That’s unheard of in our sport."

A 2014 inductee into the New Jersey High School Ice Hockey Hall of Fame, Shatel is not only known for his incomparable coaching career, but also for a stellar playing career. In three seasons playing varsity hockey for Morristown High School, Shatel accumulated an astounding 224 points before he moved on to play for two years as captain at the elite Deerfield Academy. Subsequently, he played Division I hockey at Providence College.

This comes as little surprise, when you realize the Shatel name carries with it the legacy of a family dynasty in athletics. His father, Harry Shatel, holds the record as New Jersey’s winningest high school baseball coach. Harry Shatel, who passed away in 2011, won 752 games in a coaching career at Morristown High School that spanned over 38 years. To memorialize Harry Shatel’s lasting impact on the New Jersey athletic community, the baseball field at Morristown High School now bears his name.

Presently, Shatel also coaches the New Jersey Freeze 18U AA team, as well as serves as the coaching director for the Freeze organization. Shatel is entering his ninth season as the head coach of Delbarton's varsity baseball squad, having been the team's pitching coach for 10 years prior to that. Shatel's past coaching appointments include one year as an assistant coach at Seton Hall Preparatory during the 1997-1998 season. Shatel served for six years as an assistant coach for Delbarton's varsity hockey team (two three-season stints from 1995-1997 and 1999-2001) before he took the reins as head coach in 2001-2002.

With a breadth of knowledge, experience, and understanding of the game of hockey, Shatel brings his ideas, insights, and opinions to his position on the NJSIAA Rules Committee and Seeding Committee.

Despite the prestige of Shatel's myriad accomplishments, his focus remains on his players.

“I hold my kids to a high standard,” said Shatel. “I do my best to push them to the limit and to build them up at the right moments. Sometimes the philosophy works, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s a philosophy I believe in.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Berkeley Heights

Center for Hope Hospice Starts 2018 with $10,000 Donation from RSI Bank

February 18, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – RSI Bank, headquartered in Rahway, has been a long-time supporter of the Center for Hope Hospice, which offers hospice and palliative care in its two residences, in patients’ homes and other healthcare settings.

A generous donation from the bank has helped the Center start the year with $10,000 more in its Charitable Care Program, which enables those ...

Third Annual Rockin' For Autism Music Festival

All-day festival benefiting Autism New Jersey will feature local bands, food trucks, vendors, a merchant raffle, bake sale, obstacle course and lots of family fun! Join us for a day of great music, food, fun -- and help us raise funds and awareness for a great cause.

The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday. April 14, in LaGrande Park. 200 LaGrande Ave., ...

HOLD: Fellowship Helping Hands Receives Home Care Award

Fellowship Helping Hands, the home care agency operated by Fellowship Senior Living in Basking Ridge,  has received the 2018 Best of Home Care® – Provider of Choice Award from Home Care Pulse, announced Liz Fandel, vice president of Home Community Based Services at Fellowship Senior Living.

Fellowship Helping Hands is a New Jersey licensed home care service for older and ...

New Jersey Youth Symphony Announces Bring A Buddy Week March 4-8

NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ—New Jersey Youth Symphony (NJYS) invites young musicians in grades 3-11 to attend open rehearsals for Bring A Buddy Week, March 4-8 at 570 Central Avenue in New Providence. Participating students will observe the first half of a rehearsal. Students can visit any ensemble based on their grade and experience level. Students who do not have a friend in an ensemble can still ...

Colleen Mahr Is The Leader Our Party Needs

February 13, 2018

Dear Editor:

My name is Patti Murgo. I am Committeewoman in Linden’s Eighth Ward. I am a life-long  DEMOCRAT, a party activist, and a believer in what being a democrat stands for. Last week, I received a piece of literature from our municipal chairman, Nick Scutari, regarding his “plans” for the County Democratic Party if he is elected county chairman.


No One Is More Qualified and Capable to be Our Next Democratic Committee Chair Than Colleen Mahr

Dear Editor:

Mayor Colleen Mahr has been a pillar of consistency in Union County for the last 20 years, having devoted her life to public service. There is no one more qualified and capable to lead us as our next Union County Democratic Committee Chair.

Colleen has mentored, coached and supported countless candidates running for office in Union County, all across our 21 ...

Chatham Borough Police Chief Crosson has Retired; Captain Gibbons is Acting Commander

February 12, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - Phil Crosson Jr., who has been a member of the Chatham Borough Police Department since 1992, retired from his position as the police chief on Feb. 1.

"It came on pretty quickly," Crosson said when reached by phone on Sunday. "I was on vacation for six weeks and I bought a business. I came back for one day and retired."

According to Crosson, ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Mon, February 19, 7:00 PM

Villagers Theatre, Somerset

Hairspray Auditions

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, February 20

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21, 2:00 PM

New Providence Memorial Library, New Providence

The Underground Railroad Documentary

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Invest Like a Tortoise -- Not Like a Hare

Aesop’s “The Tortoise and the Hare” is a perfect metaphor for the way people go about investing their money. As you recall in the fable, the hare brags about his ability to beat the tortoise and is overly confident about winning. In the investment world, the hare is someone who thinks he or she is great at selecting “winners” and avoiding “losers.” The ...