Cale Makar (born October 30th, 1998) is a Canadian hockey player. Makar plays as a defenceman in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche, where he started his professional career. Makar shoots from right and is known for his great skating skills. He is offensive-minded, useful in power play and is also good in puck handling. Makar’s playing style has been compared to Erik Karlsson’s.
Makar was born in Calgary, so he spent his childhood playing in different teams in the area: Crowchild Blackhawks in the minors, NWCAA Bruins at the bantam level before moving to the Calgary Flames, where he also played during the bantam time. For the major junior level, Makar was drafted by Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL league in 2013.
Makar played one more season 2014-15 in Calgary Flames Midget team before moving on to Brooks Bandits of Alberta Junior Hockey League in the end of the season. The following season 2015-16 was a bullseye for Cale Makar – scoring 55 points in 54 regular season games and fourteen points in thirteen play-off games. Makar helped his team to win the AJHL championship.
Next season, Makar improved again, scoring 75 points in regular season – and Brooks Bandits grabbed another championship. During these seasons, he received several awards, including AJHL Most Valuable Player Award in 2017. After that, Makar was drafted by Colorado Avalanche as 4th overall pick in the draft.
Despite having a fresh draft in pocket, Makar decided to head for college games. He joined the University of Massachusetts Minutemen program and played two full seasons there. During his time in UMass, Makar made steady progress and after the second season, he was selected as Hockey East Player of the Year 2019. The list of the awards during his college career is long indeed. In late season 2018-19, Makar made his first professional contract.
Makar signed a three-year entry level contact with the Avalanche. He joined immediately the first team and the play-offs. Makar scored his first NHL goal in his debut game – which was a play-off game vs. Calgary Flames. He scored a total of six points (1+5) in ten play-off games in 2018-19 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Next season, Makar made it to the opening line-up and his first regular season in the NHL was a success – despite the upper body injury that kept him out of the action for a while in December 2019. Cale Makar played 57 games in regular season and scored 50 points – an achievement that earned him a Calder Memorial Trophy final place.
Update!: Cale Makar won the Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year 2020!
Makar played in World Junior A Challenge tournament as early as 2015. He also represented Canada in U20 World Junior Championships tournament in 2018, winning gold medal with the team. He has played a total of fifteen international junior games, scoring 17 points (8+9).
Other interesting stuff
Makar’s younger brother Taylor plays also hockey. Like Cale Makar, he played in Brooks Bandits and is heading to UMass. The brothers are of Ukrainian descent from their father’s side.
Cale Makar is sixth player to win the Calder Trophy in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history – Vancouver Canucks’s Quinn Hughes and Chicago Blackhawks’s Dominik Kubalik were the other successful Calder Trophy finalists in 2020.