What do you get when you cross a University of Massachusetts student with a National Hockey League Rookie of the Year? If you guessed Cale Makar, you are correct! The young man from Calgary is one of my absolute favorite players on the Colorado Avalanche. I love to refer to him as Rookie Boy and King Cale. There are many reasons why I find him loveable and absolutely awesome.
As Cale was growing up in Canada, he had a successful youth hockey career. In 2015, he was named to the Alberta Midget Hockey League First All-Star Team. In my opinion, I believe that set the tone for him to succeed in future hockey endeavors. He has earned many, many awards and honors in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Some of these achievements include the South All-Rookie Team in 2016, the Canadian Junior Hockey League Rookie of the Year in 2016, Most Outstanding Defenseman in 2017, and Most Valuable Player in 2017.
With those kinds of achievements, I am not shocked in the slightest that Cale ended up being a top prospect. If I’m being honest, if I were a scout, I would have a player of that caliber on my radar scope, no doubt about it. It would take a lot for me to fight the urge to immediately offer him a contract. If I could describe Cale’s performance in Alberta’s youth hockey program, I would describe it as a tie-dye unicorn with a platinum horn, a gilded front left hoof, a front right hoof consisting entirely of opal, a rear left hoof consisting completely of amethysts, a rear right hoof consisting entirely of garnets, and ruby-studded wings. Very oddly specific unicorn, I know. However, I see it as the best way to describe his magical talents.
Despite his high prospect rank, Cale chose to follow through with his college plans and play hockey at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he studied sport management. Not surprisingly, Cale thrived at the university. Five of his achievements include the 2018 Hockey East Association All-Rookie Team, a unanimous 2019 Hockey East Association Player of the Year, the Hobey Baker Award in 2019, the New England Player of the Year in 2019, and a New England All-Star in 2019. I swear, Cale received a PhD in leaving a magical impression on collegiate hockey teams whilst studying for a Bachelor’s degree. He absolutely earned the King Cale nickname.
Speaking of the Hobey Baker Award, literally three days after winning the trophy, he made his very first National Hockey League appearance, in the playoffs, no less. Try hard not to act surprised, but Cale scored a lead-boosting goal sixteen minutes into the first period of Game 3 of the playoff series versus Calgary. Very interesting! Cale grew up in Calgary, and played in the game against the team representing his hometown. That’s a fascinating coincidence, at least from my perspective.
Words cannot describe the elation I felt when Cale won the Calder Trophy. If I’m being honest, I felt like Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes got a lot more rookie love from hockey fans than Cale did. There is no shock that Cale won, considering he had an average 0.88 points per game appearance, finished with plus-12 on the season, and had 38 assists. I have chosen to refrain from doubting whether or not Cale’s youth and college hockey talents followed him to the professional level. He has been a shining light in the Avalanche organization.
What I really love about Cale is his enjoyment of his family and friends. In an interview just before Game Seven of Round 2 of the 2018-2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Cale mentioned that he is extremely close with his immediate and extended family. He mentions his family contacts him frequently and that he loves the support. I can relate to that to an extent. I remember my family and I were very happy when I got a perfect score on my summer school trigonometry final. I also loved getting to support my sister as she completed her Bachelor of Arts degree and attending her college graduation.
I admire Cale’s maturity and wisdom. He prefers to give credit to his teammates rather than bask in all the glory of his personal accomplishments. Cale mentioned that he has his team to thank for being a Calder nominee/winner. Plus, he says the entire team contributed to their successful season. I absolutely relate to the appreciation of a team effort. I’m not sure I would have gotten a great grade on a presentation I did about the economic consequences of overfishing had it not been for my amazing classmates who also worked on the project.
Last but not least, Cale loves dogs! In the adorable Avalanche puppy photoshoot video (which I will link below, do be prepared for cuteness overload), Cale is having a wonderful time with the puppies. He actually mentions, “This is my dog though, now,” when describing one of the puppies he was petting. Also, last year, while Cale was staying over at his teammate Sam Girard’s home, he spent some quality time with Sam’s goldendoodle, Tornade. A photo of Cale smiling with Sam’s fur baby in his arms is posted to Tornade’s Instagram page.
All hail King Cale! Go Avs Go! Congrats on the Calder, Cale, and keep up the magical work.