Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar is making waves — and friends — with both his on-ice and off-ice performances.
Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar is a good player. Some sports writers have even questioned whether he might turn pro after this UMass season is over. We’ll explore that in a later post, but the short answer is, I don’t think so.
Nonetheless, Makar along with future Avalanche teammate Conor Timmins is playing at the IIHF World Juniors right now. Correction, they’re not just playing, they’re tearing it up. Makar has points in four of the five games he’s played so far — three goals and three assists. (Timmins has four points — a goal and three assists.)
One of those goals — and one of the ways he’s been charming fans — came during the IIHF World Juniors outdoor game. Citi Field (normally home of the New York Mets) was all set to host the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, and IIHF Worlds decided to host the first-ever outdoor World Juniors game on the ice.
Cale Makar was the first-ever player to score a goal in the first-ever outdoor WJC game (and I daresay the first-ever player to score a hockey goal at Citi Field). And he did so in what NHL.com called a “snowglobe setting.” And he then indulged in one euphoric goal celebration:
All in all, everything about that scene was thrilling.
Makar, just like other teammates, participates in fun promotional videos. Producers like to pit him against teammates with silly questions, such as which teammate is more stylish. UMass did one at the beginning of the collegiate season, and now IIHF has pitted him against Team Canada teammate Dante Fabbro, a Nashville Predators prospect.
What’s charming about this video — besides Makar’s trademark rosy cheeks — is how humble and young Cale appears.
Cale Makar really turned on the charm recently when reporters asked him about a fan sign at a recent game that read “Dude, where’s Makar?” The sign is a reference to the Ashton Kutcher film “Dude, Where’s My Car?” a tale of two potheads retracing a party night to find, you guessed it, their car.
After Makar deemed the sign “very cool,” the reporter asks him if he’s ever gotten signs like that before. Makar responds:
"“I’m surprised nobody’s really thought of that up until now. But it was pretty, just, cool seeing that out on the crowd.”"
The reporter then points out that the movie came out a long time ago — in fact, it came out in 2000. Young Cale, of course, was born in 1998. Makar’s reaction to that is the most charming aspect of this interview:
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The look of surprise on his face is priceless. But I also wonder — what did he think the sign was referencing? Just random dudes looking for their car. (Though, the be fair, in arena parking lots that can be challenging. I once I had to have security drive me around until I spotted mine.) Also to be fair, Makar was two when the movie came out, and it’s unlikely his parents would have allowed him to watch a PG-13 film.
For some reason, this interview reminds me a little of his draft day presser — though I don’t think his cheeks have ever been so red before or since. Someone asked him what he knew of the history of the team that had just drafted him, the Colorado Avalanche, and his response was, “To be honest, I know that Joe Sakic played there way back when.” And that was it. He could also only name two players — Joe Colborne (fellow AJHL draftee) and Tyson Barrie (fellow offensive defenseman, presumably).
Spoiler alert: That presser is also why I’m convinced Makar will commit to at least one more year at UMass. He was much too determined to make a difference to that team rather than to join one that once had Joe Sakic. (But he’s a teen, and teens change their minds, so you never know.)
In any case, the Colorado Avalanche will one day have a great puck-moving defenseman in Cale Makar. Apparently they’ll have a gentle charmer as well.