After just 16 games played for the Massachusetts hockey team, highly touted first-year defenseman Cale Makar has earned a spot on Team Canada’s World Junior Championship roster.
Fellow freshman defender Mario Ferraro, Makar’s usual partner on the blue line at UMass (9-7-0, 3-4-0 Hockey East Association), was the deciding cut that finalized the roster on Friday.
When the announcement of the initial roster was made on Dec. 6, the 19-year-old defensemen signified the first two Minutemen in program history to be invited to the camp. With Ferraro’s late cut however, Makar now stands as the lone skater to secure a spot on the final 22-man roster.
The camp, which ran from Dec. 12 through Dec. 15 in St. Catharines, Ontario, invited just 32 players to tryout, each of which were meticulously sought after from the highly talented crop of under-20 Canadians.
Makar, a Colorado Avalanche draft pick, garnered nine points on one goal and eight assists, while bolstering a plus-seven on ice rating in the first half for UMass.
Appearing in two of the three exhibitions against U Sports All-Star team and Friday’s culminating game against Denmark, Makar was selected to be one of the seven defensemen that will represent Team Canada in Buffalo at the 2018 World Junior Championships.
The tournament, set to run from Dec. 26 through Jan. 5, 2018, will kick off for Makar and Team Canada when it faces off with Finland in a Group A preliminary-round game.
Liam Flaherty can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @_LiamFlaherty.