MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn High School ice hockey team took a great leap forward in 2017 advancing all the way to the conference tournament final en route to a 17-7-3 record, their best standing in over ten years. Propelling the Millers to a historic season was senior goalie Gabe Nadell.
Although he has been a constant in the improving ice hockey team for four years, Nadell saved a career high 734 shots on goal this season, with an unprecedented 96% save percentage.
“I really didn’t make too many changes from past years,” said Nadell. “Physically you get bigger over the years. I guess mentally I’m a little stronger. But honestly I just hate giving up goals, and that’s what motivates me.”
Capping off an amazing career with a stellar year, Nadell will be remembered as one of the greatest Millers to ever skate on the ice. The three-year starter stopped 95% of the shots on goal, with 2,153 saves.
In recognition of his individual performance this year, the Kelley Conference placed Nadell on the first team and crowned him the Kelley Conference Most Valuable Player. Although these are individual honors, Nadell credits his teammates.
“It’s definitely an honor, and I’m very grateful,” Nadell said. “But a lot of this stuff is a reflection of my team. If the guys playing in front of me are sacrificing their bodies, and are dedicated, then my job is to stop whatever comes at me. They make my job a lot easier though.”
Of course, Nadell will be missed for years to come; the beloved keeper put the Millers on the map. The team exponentially improved each year with Nadell as the backstop. However, Nadell feels he is in the program’s debt.
“These last four years have just been the most fun, making memories playing hockey with my best friends,” said Nadell. “But also, the coaches are great. Coach Doria and Coach Myers, they all taught me so much.”
Throughout his tenure on the team, parallels have been drawn between him and his older brother, Codey, who actually inspired Nadell to pursue hockey.
“My brother liked hockey, so I figured I’d try it,” said Nadell. “A few years later, we were playing on the same club team, and it was just a lot of fun.”
Nadell is expected to follow his brother in his footsteps as a club hockey player in college.
Next season, the Millers will have a void in the back of the net with the loss of Nadell. However, Nadell’s legacy promises to be a motivating factor for the next generation of Millburn hockey.