Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar took some time out of his self-isolation to speak about his career so far and his time during the hockey hiatus.
Colorado Avalanche stud rookie defenseman Cale Makar sat down on video chat with Ryan Leslie of Sportsnet. With the hockey hiatus in full swing — and the self-isolation has been extended until April 15 — players have been reaching out to the media via Zoom and other video chat platforms.
A silver lining during this hockey hiatus is we’re getting to know the players a little better, the ones participating in the video chats. During the season, they don’t have a full 15 minutes to sit with just one journalist, not usually anyway. Normally you just get those deliberately bland snippets after the game.
Today, during his video chat, Makar gave us a little more of a glimpse of who he is. In a nutshell, he’s an extraordinarily poised young man. But we already knew that.
Some highlights from the interview, though, include a little insight into what his journey was like. For instance, he talked about how “super-cool” getting drafted by the Colorado Avalanche was. However, he added, “I don’t look back on it too much because it was more of an individual thing.” Cale’s being hyper-focused on team success over individual success is very much a theme for him.
Hard work is another theme. Leslie — who asks incredible questions, by the way — detailed a video he saw of Makar working on his game for hours after practice while at UMass.
According to Makar, he was “just trying to get in a little work after practice.” Needless to say, he thanks his parents for that teaching and points out it was instilled in him to “never take anything for granted.”
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Now, at this point we have to remember the whirlwind weekend — Makar’s term — that ended with Cale’s debut in the NHL.
Friday: Wins Hobey Baker
Saturday: Plays in NCAA Finals
Sunday: Signs professional contract
Monday: Debuts in playoffs against hometown team
Makar said that, as he was finishing up his college career, he tried not to think about “the next step” when he’d turn pro. He admitted it was tough, though, seeing what the Avs were doing. He added, “I don’t think I could have had more of a storybook start to my career than playing my hometown team.”
In case you forgot, Cale grew up in Calgary, and his parents had season tickets to the Flames. Needless to say, the media were all over it at the time.
Makar admits in his interview that it was “weird” for his parents to be cheering for the Colorado Avalanche and not the Flames while they were in attendance. However, they’re Avs fans now, according to Makar.
Side note: I didn’t notice at the time, but when Makar’s mom is cheering his first goal, Nathan MacKinnon’s father reaches over and fist-bumps her.
One thing that Makar did touch on is that all the players reached out to him right away — and obviously MacKinnon’s parents did the same to his. What’s more, captain Gabriel Landeskog took it upon himself to drive Cale to his first game.
Of course he did.
Makar called it a “relaxing experience.” Maybe that’s why later, when MacKinnon asked him how he was doing, Makar calmly answered, “Good. You?” (It wasn’t MacKinnon’s first-ever NHL game, y’know.)
Speaking of MacKinnon, Makar calls him the fiercest competitor he’s ever played with. That’s saying something.
There are a lot more tidbits in the video. However, Makar did share that he’s trying his best to stay fit in isolation. Per Canadian rules, Canadians returning to Canada have to stay isolated for 14 days before they can rejoin their families.
Apparently Cale is all alone up in the mountains. No beard, though.
Every time I listen to a Cale Makar interview or watch him play, I become more impressed with this young kid. Like I said, he’s just so extraordinarily poised. I can’t wait to see him playing for the Colorado Avalanche again.