Athlete Spotlight: Cale Makar, Hockey

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Cale Makar #16
Hockey, Freshman

August 28, 2015, the day that UMass Hockey landed the commitment Cale Makar from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. June 23rd, 2017, the day Cale Makar was drafted 4th overall by the Colorado Avalanche, becoming the highest draft pick in program history. We are only in the early stages of what most believe promises to be a long professional career in the NHL after his tenure in Amherst.

The Cale Makar story is one that is just starting to be written, but these two dates marked the turning point for our program, helping restore hope and faith in the direction this new regime is heading. Makar’s commitment undoubtedly has made UMass a very attractive destination to play, as San Jose Sharks 2nd round selection, Mario Ferraro decided to join Makar in Amherst back in August of 2016.

The talents of Makar, Ferraro, and 11 others brought in by Head Coach Greg Carvel has been heralded as the 3rd best freshman class in the nation according to Neutral Zone
Makar, who turned 19 just three months ago, continues to rack up achievements. During winter break, he helped lead team Canada to Gold at the recent World Juniors Championships in Buffalo. After Cale’s fantastic play, in which he totaled eight points (three goals, five assists) over seven games, TSN reported Makar turned down an invitation to play for the Canadian Olympic Hockey team next month in South Korea. Many believed the invitation was unexpected, as Makar is 100% committed to the Minutemen program right now, passing on the opportunity to represent his country on the world’s largest stage.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Cale Makar in a Q&A session to better get to know the freshman phenom:

Q: Outside of the Hockey program, what has made UMass a great choice for you as a student athlete?

A: “Outside the hockey program, it’s just a great place to meet new people. It’s such a diverse community with everybody that we have on campus and being able to meet new people and grow. The school and the culture is pretty special.”

Q: Do you have any career aspirations outside of professional hockey? If so, what are they?

“That’s a tough one. I’d probably go with I’d get into golfing a little bit more. I’m a big golfer right now. Maybe a professional golfer, that’s probably my best bet, maybe a personal trainer.”

Q: What is the best advise a coach, family member, or close friend/mentor ever gave you?

A: “I think ‘never be satisfied’. I think growing up that was one of the things that my parents and a lot of my family members told me. It’s just kind of stuck with me.”

Q: What is your favorite TV show or movie? Favorite genre of music or song?

A: “That’s an easy one. I’d probably have to go with TV show—Hawaii Five-0 and then movie, I’d probably have to go with Kingsman 2, right now. That or The Martian, that’s always a good one. I’m a proud Alberta boy so I feel obligated to say country here, but I like every kind of music, I’ll listen to anything.”

Q: Who is your favorite professional athlete of all-time and if you could be a professional athlete in any other sport besides hockey, which would it be?

A: “I think a professional athlete that I look up to is probably, growing up I’ve always seen Bobby Orr as a very prominent figure in my life and looked at what he does and how he handles himself off the ice and on the ice and I’d probably relay that back to Jerome Iginla, growing up in Calgary, as well. If I was able to play another sport, I don’t know, I’d probably go football or golf for sure.”

Q: Do you have any messages/comments for the student section or student community?

A: “It’s been exceptional this year. Obviously, this being my first year at UMass, you get to see the full-blown setup of the students coming to the game and it’s been awesome so far. I just hope their support continues through the rest of this year and then next year as well.”

It is fair to say Makar’s story is one of loyalty, selflessness, and perseverance as the defenseman from Calgary has stayed firm to his collegiate commitment time and time again. Makar has mentioned that his plan is play at UMass for 2 seasons before signing is first professional contract with the Avalanche.

The talented defenseman exemplifies the true meaning of “team player” as Makar despite his team’s inconsistent play over the past several weeks. Makar, along with his 12 other freshman teammates are determined to build a winning program and culture under second year head coach Greg Carvel.

UMass ranks #1 in the nation in points scored by freshmen (113) and it’s not even close. The next closest team is Bowling Green (92), and the closest Hockey East team is Boston University (80).

The Minutemen will continue to improve with experience this season, as this young team has their sights on multiple NCAA tournament berths in the coming years. Buy stock now folks, this program is about to take off and become something very special. With the goal song back, Friday and Saturday nights in Mullins Center are becoming marque, can’t miss experiences.


Upcoming Games:

Friday 2/2: Home vs Boston University
Saturday 2/3: Away vs New Hampshire
Tuesday 2/6: Home vs Merrimack

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