Cale Makar Finally Closes Out Long Extended Season


It was the one element of Cale Makar’s game that he had returned to UMass to work on; the one-time shot. 

ESPN’s big-boy broadcasters had teased him about it during their NCAA coverage, until the man-child destroyed Harvard with a one-time blast from his power-play office at the Northeast Regional. Possessor of the coveted right-hand shot, Makar likes to set up on the left side of the umbrella on the power-play, near the top of the circle, take a pass and let it fly across his body. Because of a full college season and four weeks of Stanley Cup playoffs, Makar has had nearly nine-months to work the kinks out of what had supposedly been the only kink in his game. His one-timer is now a feared weapon at the highest level.

Time was running out on Makar’s endless season Wednesday night, an NCAA-to-NHL transition not seen in over half a century. Despite being the ultimate NHL newbie, a 20-year-old kid still wet behind his ears, Makar was back in his office, his Avalanche trailing by a goal in Game 7 on the road, half a minute from playoff extinction. And with storybook timing, Makar got the pass he had been prepping for all season long, and got a hold of it like golfer driving from the blue tees. The puck changed direction and exited his blade at an estimated 100 miles per hour, screaming in hot toward the Sharks goalie Martin Jones, who was sliding across his crease. 

The puck was only a blur, even on NBC’s super slo-mo. It rattled off Jones’ blocker, and carried through into his jersey next to his hip, the puck’s momentum carrying inches deeper toward the goal line. But Jones’ elbow clamped down, closing what is known as the “seven-hole,” and the scoring bid fell a foot short. 

The Avalanche had one more glorious chance, a tip-in gobbled up once again by Jones, and Colorado’s Cinderella story, and Makar’s, finally expired a few minutes before midnight eastern time. Cheeks puffed and red, Makar went through his second Stanley Cup playoff handshake line, his first on the losing side. 

His hockey Odyssey has been well documented, but dizzying nevertheless: 48 hours after falling short in the NCAA title game, 72 hours since he won the prestigious Hobey Baker Award, Makar scored his first NHL playoff goal, helping the Avalanche to a shocking series victory over the heavily favored Flames. The team he worshipped growing up in Calgary was left in his wake, as Cale and his new mates advanced to the Western Conference semis.

Hockey aficionados have come up with a handful of examples of players who made the jump from the Frozen Four to the Stanley Cup playoffs. In 1990, John Byce went from scoring a hat trick in Wisconsin’s NCAA title game triumph to scoring for the Bruins in their first round victory over Hartford, but Byce was injured during Boston’s run to the Finals, and never heard from again. 

Perhaps the best parallel to Makar’s 48-hour sprint to The Show was back in 1962, when Red Berenson left his Michigan Wolverines in Utica, driving from the Frozen Four to Boston to join the first place Montreal Canadiens on St. Patrick’s Day. Although the Habs were upset by the Blackhawks in the 1962 semifinals, Berenson would continue his legendary pro career, winning a Stanley Cup with Montreal and getting to three more Finals with the St. Louis Blues. One imagines that Makar’s career will more likely follow the Berenson track than that of Byce.

It is feasible that Makar could answer the Clarion Call of Team Canada, and join the men in Slovakia in quest of IIHF gold. That would be unprecedented. But, according to his father Gary, Cale and his family will be in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 22 for the annual Hobey Baker Banquet, where the men in the distinct Hobey Baker Blazers will pay homage to this college hockey immortal. 

To those of us who have had the privilege of covering Makar’s amazing season, a tip of the hat and tap of the stick. It may take another half century before we see another.

7 Atlantic Hockey Sophomores To Watch in 2019-20

Atlantic Hockey boasted its share of impact freshmen last season, especially Niagara's Ludwig Stenlund and Sacred Heart's Austin Magera.

Challenging Freshman Season Honed Ferris State Goalie Roni Salmenkangas

Finnish goalie Roni Salmenkangas spent his freshman year at Ferris State going to hell and back. 

Ferris State Expects Improvement In 2019-20


It’s one wacky, crazy league, that WCHA. It’s a circuit filled with national championship banners (9) and two state schools (University of Alaska Fairbanks and University of Alaska Anchorage) bordering on bankruptcy. It’s a 4,200-mile commute between member schools in Anchorage and Huntsville, Alabama—that’s 68 hours behind the wheel for those with flight-phobia.

2019-20 Women's Schedule Release: Minnesota Duluth

Minnesota Duluth didn't have the best season but it ended on a better note than it began last year as they reached the WCHA Final Faceoff Semifinals. Ultimately they were defeated by eventual NCAA champion Minnesota in that round.

2019-20 Women's Schedule Release: Minnesota

A runner-up finish. That's what the Minnesota women came away with last season after posting a  record that had just six losses against 31 wins with one tie that came against Minnesota Duluth at the beginning of the season. 

2019-20 Women's Schedule Release: Bemidji State

The ladies will be taking the ice soon so let's check out their schedules starting with Bemidji State.

By The Numbers: NCAA Defensive Scoring Race Up For Grabs In 2019-20

Between graduation and the NHL’s annual springtime harvest, the list of NCAA defensive scoring leaders in 2018-19 has thinned out, leaving the defensive scoring race up for grabs in the 2019-20 collegiate season.

170 WCHA Men's Hockey Games Live On FloHockey

Set your notifications now so you're ready for all the WCHA action coming live on FloHockey this season.

2019-20 Schedule Release: Minnesota State

It was an accolade-stacking season for Minnesota State in 2018-19. 

Full WCHA Men's Hockey Schedule

Before we know it we will get back to watching some incredible WCHA action.