The Colorado Avalanche’s Cale Makar, Vancouver Canucks’ Quinn Hughes and New York Rangers’ Adam Fox are three of the brightest young defensemen in the league. A common experience they all went through was playing college hockey before making the move to the NHL.
Makar had a slightly different path to the University of Massachusetts, where he spent two seasons including winning the 2019 Hobey Baker Award for the best men’s player in NCAA hockey.
After getting selected in the Western Hockey League draft, the Calgary native turned down the chance to play junior hockey and decided to go stateside.
“I think when it came down to it, it wasn’t too hard,” Makar said. “Fortunately for me, I just had a lot of friends and family that went the NCAA route and the junior route as well and I kind of compared both in terms what I thought would benefit me the most. I think I ended up at a great place there at UMass.”
Over the course of two seasons with the Minutemen, Makar totaled 70 points in 74 games leading UMass to the national championship game in the 2018-19 season.