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Massachusetts Hockey Alumnus Makar Wins Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe

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TAMP, FL. Hockey alumnus University of Massachusetts and 2019 Hobey Baker winner Cale Makari has won its first Stanley Cup Championship with the Colorado Avalanche, as Colorado took a 2-1 series win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 on Sunday night. Makar was also named the recipient of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, becoming the second Minuteman in history to earn the honor when goalkeeper Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe in 2012.

It marks the fifth time a Massachusetts hockey alumnus has won the Stanley Cup as Makar joins Conor Sheary (Pittsburgh Penguins 2016, 2017) and Quick (Los Angeles Kings – 2012, 2014), both of whom have won the Cup twice. have hoisted.

Makar was the unanimous pick for the Conn Smythe, taking the first vote of all 18 voters after playing a pivotal role in Colorado capturing its first Stanley Cup since 2001. The former Minuteman was third in the NHL with 29 points (eight goals, 21 assists) in 19 games this postseason, the most by a defenseman since Brian Leetch had 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 23 games for the New York Rangers in 1993-94. After finishing with seven points (three goals, four assists) in the Stanley Cup final, Makar becomes the youngest defender to win the Conn Smythe since Bobby Orr did 52 years ago and UMass joins Cornell as one of only two NCAA hockey programs to produce two Conn Smythe winners.

The Calgary, Alberta native received the Norris Trophy last Tuesday as the best defenseman in the NHL during the 2021-22 regular season, in which he racked up 56 points (19g, 37a) and helped Colorado finish first in the Western Conference. He is the third defenseman in NHL history to win the Cup, Conn Smythe, and Norris Trophy in the same season, along with Orr (1970, 1972) and Nicklas Lidstrom (2002). In 2019-20, Makar also captured the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie.

During his two-year collegiate career, Makar was named the 2019 Hobey Baker Award winner, UMass’s first-ever winner, and helped bring Massachusetts hockey to unprecedented success in 2018-19 with the program’s first-ever Frozen Four appearance.

He finished his collegiate career with 70 points on 21 goals and 49 assists in 75 career games and as the career plus-minus record holder at +41, he signed with the Colorado Avalanche at the end of the 2018-19 campaign.

Voted Hockey East Player of the Year by unanimous selection, Makar also received the Leonard Fowle Award as New England Player of the Year and the Bob Monahan Award (New England’s best defender) and was named a Hockey East First-Team All-Star, a New England All-Star and a 2018-19 CCM/AHA Hockey First Team All-American.

Makar was the focus of a historic run for Massachusetts hockey in 2018-19, including program records in wins, conference wins and the team’s first-ever Hockey East Regular Season Championship.

Makar was the first defenseman in history to lead Hockey East overall with 49 points in 40 games. Makar finished the year eighth in the nation in points per game (1.20), sixth in assists per game (0.80), third in defender scoring and second in plus-minus (+32). He was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Ice Hockey Northeast Regional after leading UMass to a Northeast Regional Championship with a goal, an assist and a +3 rating in 4-0 shutouts of Harvard and Notre Dame. In the National Semifinal, Makar recorded his 33rd assist of the season and helped the Minutemen earn a spot in the NCAA Championship game for the first time in the history of the program.

Makar broke UMass’ single-season records for defender points and defender assists in 2018-19, previously held by UMass Hall of Famer Thomas Poeck. He is second in program history for single-season assists and fifth for single-season points.

The 2018-19 Massachusetts deputy captain led the Minutemen to their first No. 1 in school history in USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls, and No. 4 overall in the NCAA tournament. His 16 results in 2018-19 bolstered UMass’ highest number of goals (151) in the program’s Hockey East era.

Makar was named #1 on ESPN’s list of Top 50 NHL Drafted Prospects in March 2019. As a freshman in 2017-18, Makar was a Hockey East Third-Team All-Star and an All-Rookie Team honorary and won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship, where he was one of three Canadian players from the tournament was and a selection of the World Junior Media All-Star Team.

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