Massachusetts sophomore defenseman Cale Makar has signed with the Colorado Avalanche, forgoing the final two years of his collegiate eligibility.Makar, who was drafted by Colorado fourth overall in the 2017 NHL Draft, will join the Avalanche for their Stanley Cup playoff run.”Cale obviously had a tremendous season, winning the Hobey Baker and getting his team to the Frozen Four,” said Avalanche GM Joe Sakic in a statement. “He is a game-changing type of player who made a lasting impact on the UMass hockey program. We are excited to have him join our team.”The 2019 Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner finishes his collegiate career with 70 points on 21 goals and 49 assists over 75 career contests and as the record holder at UMass for career plus-minus at plus-41.“On behalf of the UMass hockey staff and players, we want to congratulate Cale on a magnificent collegiate hockey career and we are excited to see him excel at the professional level,” said UMass coach Greg Carvel in a statement. “Cale represented UMass hockey in a first-class manner at all times and in every situation. He was a great teammate and we will miss him off of the ice as much as we will miss him on the ice. He helped build our culture and elevate our hockey program. Cale will forever be remembered as one of the greatest Minutemen.”Chosen as the Hockey East Player of the Year by unanimous selection, the Calgary native also received the Leonard Fowle Award as New England Player of the Year and the Bob Monahan Award (New England’s Best Defenseman) in addition to being named a Hockey East First-Team All-Star and a New England All-Star this season.“I’m very excited to start the next chapter of my hockey career,” added Makar, “I can’t wait to see what it has in store.”The first defenseman in history to lead Hockey East in overall scoring with 49 points in 40 games, Makar finished the year eighth the nation in points per game (1.20), sixth in assists per game (0.80), third in defenseman scoring and second in plus-minus (plus-32). He was voted the Most Outstanding Player at the NCAA Northeast Regional after leading UMass to the championship with a goal and an assist and a plus-3 rating in 4-0 shutouts of Harvard and Notre Dame.In the national semifinal, Makar logged his 33rd assist of the season and helped the Minutemen earn a spot in the NCAA championship game for the first time in program history.Makar broke UMass’ single-season records for points by a defenseman and assists by a defenseman in 2018-19, marks previously held by UMass Hall of Famer Thomas Poeck. He is second in program history for single-season assists, as well as second in plus-minus and fifth for single-season points.Makar totaled 30 points in 24 Hockey East games on eight goals and 21 assists, ranking second in points per-game (1.25) and first in plus-minus (+21). He was recognized as Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week three times this season, Player of the Week three times and was the Hockey East Player of the Month in October.
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