Calgary's Cale Makar wins Hobey Baker Award as NCAA hockey MVP

Two days after Massachusetts defenceman Cale Makar of Calgary won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's top player, he signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Defenceman to join Avalanche in Stanley Cup playoffs after signing 3-year entry-level deal

Massachusetts defenceman Cale Makar, from Calgary, is a draft pick of the Colorado Avalanche. (Jeffrey T. Barnes/Associated Press)

Massachusetts defenceman Cale Makar has won the Hobey Baker Memorial Award as college hockey's top player.

Makar is completing his second season and played a key role in helping the Minutemen advance to their first Frozen Four championship game. College hockey's awards were announced Friday a day before UMass faces defending champion Minnesota Duluth in the final.

On Sunday, the Colorado Avalanche announced they had signed the 2017 fourth overall draft pick to a three-year, entry-level contract. Makar , 20, will join the team for its opening-round Stanley Cup playoff series against Calgary.

"Cale obviously had a tremendous season, winning the Hobey Baker and getting his team to the Frozen Four," Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said in a news release. "He is a game-changing type of player who made a lasting impact on the UMass hockey program. We are excited to have him join our team."

Makar beat out Harvard's Adam Fox and St. Cloud State's Jimmy Schuldt in the first time the award's three finalists were defencemen.

Northeast Regional most outstanding player

From Calgary, Makar has 49 points in 41 games and is two points from becoming the first defenceman to lead the nation in points.

Makar helped the Minutemen to their first No. 1 ranking in school history, set program records in wins and conference wins, and captured the team's first-ever Hockey East regular-season championship. Makar was named the most outstanding player of the NCAA Northeast Regional.

He was the first defenceman in history to lead Hockey East in overall scoring and broke the UMass single-season school record for points by a blue-liner, topping the previous mark of 41 set by Thomas Poeck in 2003-04.

In 2018, Makar helped Canada win world junior gold in Buffalo and was named to the tournament's all-star team after recording eight points in seven games, tops among Canadian defencemen and tied for first among all blue-liners.

The Mike Richter award for top goalie went to Northeastern sophomore Cayden Primeau. He finished 25-9-1 and ranked second in the nation with a .933 save percentage. He's the son of former NHLer Keith Primeau and signed an entry level contract with Montreal last month.

Wisconsin defenceman Jake Bunz earned the Hockey Humanitarian award for establishing The Fond Blanc Foundation to help orphaned children in Haiti.

With files from CBC Sports