Colorado Avalanche prospect Cale Makar was named the recipient of the 2019 Hobey Baker Award, given to college hockey's top player, at a ceremony on Thursday afternoon in Buffalo, New York, the site the NCAA Men's Division I Frozen Four.
Makar, a sophomore defenseman for the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the first player in school history to win the award, and he is the first underclassman to pick up the accolade since Boston University freshman Jack Eichel in 2015.
The Calgary, Alberta, native has helped UMass to a record season and a trip to the NCAA National Championship game for the first time in its history. He had three shots and an assist in the Minutemen's 4-3 overtime win against the University of Denver in the national semifinal on Thursday. Massachusetts won its first-ever regular-season championship in Hockey East, and the team's 31 victories so far are the most in program history.
In the first three games of the NCAA tournament, Makar registered points in each of them, recording a goal and two assists while also being voted as the Most Outstanding Player in the Northeast Regional. UMass plays the University of Minnesota Duluth in the title game on Saturday night.
A team alternate captain this season, Makar has recorded 49 points (16 goals and 33 assists), the most among nation D-men and one off the overall scoring lead (50). He set new school records for the most points and assists by a defenseman in a single season.
During Hockey East conference play, the blueliner recorded 30 points (eight goals, 22 assists) in 24 games, ranking second in the league in scoring and assists behind teammate Mitchell Chaffee. He was named a unanimous selection for the Hockey East Player of the Year award after previously being named the conference's Player of the Month in October and Player of the Week three times. Makar also earned conference first-team all-star and New England All-Star honors.
Earlier in the day, Makar was named a First-Team All-American (East). He has also been the recipient this season of the Leonard Fowle Award as the New England player of the year and the Bob Monahan Award as New England's best defenseman.
The Avalanche selected Makar as the No. 4 overall pick at the 2017 NHL Draft, making him the highest-ever drafted player in UMass and Alberta Junior Hockey League history.
Prior to his first campaign with the Minutemen, Makar recorded 130 points (34 goals and 96 assists) over the course of two full seasons with the AJHL's Brooks Bandits. He went on to win two championships, rookie of the year, most outstanding defenseman and MVP honors for both the regular season and playoffs during his time at the junior-A level.
As a freshman in 2017-18, Makar earned Hockey East Third All-Star and All-Rookie Team accolades after producing five goals and 16 assists in 34 games. That season, he also helped Canada win the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship by leading all tournament defensemen in goals (three) and points (eight).
Makar is the third Colorado prospect to win the Hobey Baker Award, joining Chris Drury from Boston University (1998) and Will Butcher from the University of Denver (2017).