By Romi Bean

DENVER (CBS4)– The 96 hours leading up to Cale Makar’s first NHL appearance were nothing short of insane. On Friday, April 12, 2019, Makar won the Hobey Baker Award, given to the best player in college hockey.

SAN JOSE, CA – APRIL 26: Brenden Dillon #4 of the San Jose Sharks collides up against the boards with Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche during the third period in Game One of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center on April 26, 2019 in San Jose, California. The Sharks won the game 5-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

On Saturday, he led the University of Massachusetts to an NCAA Championship Game appearance. On Sunday, he inked a three-year entry-level deal with the Colorado Avalanche.

And on Monday, he made his NHL debut.

“Not too much nervousness. I’m just going to go out there and do my thing, and see where the puck lies,” Makar said ahead of his NHL debut.

Well, Makar did his thing – and became the first defenseman in the NHL history to score his first career goal, while making his debut in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

DENVER, COLORADO – MAY 06: Cale Makar #8 of the Colorado Avalanche skates the puck away from Barclay Goodrow #23 of the San Jose Sharks in the second period during Game Six of the Western Conference Second Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Pepsi Center on May 6, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“I don’t really remember the goal, to be honest. I kind of blacked out. Luckily, I got out of the way before anything else happened,” Makar said of his first NHL goal.

Makar’s transition to the NHL has been seamless. He credits his smooth transition to the two years he spent at UMASS. Makar could have left school after his freshman year, but he chose to stay until he was ready.

“I think for me, I needed to work on a few things. I felt that going back for the second year and gaining the confidence I needed to be a pro, that was a big step for me. UMASS helped me do that,” Makar said.

Makar will enter the 2019-2020 season a rookie – but in name only. Makar’s small sample size of NHL playoff experience gives him an enormous leg up.

“It’s going to help me an incredible amount. Obviously I’ve never been to training camp, but it’s nice to know the guys and the surroundings before coming in,” Makar said.

Romi Bean


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