Wednesday, 28 June 2017 12:22

Brooks Bandits’ Cale Makar selected 4th overall by Colorado Avalanche at NHL Draft

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Brooks Bandits defenceman Cale Makar (Calgary) has made history, after being selected fourth overall by the Colorado Avalanche at the 2017 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Makar, 18,  broke the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) record for highest drafted player, which was set by Joe Colborne of the Camrose Kodiaks when he was selected 16th overall by the Avalanche in 2008. He is the second-highest drafted player in Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) history, after Kyle Turris who went third overall in 2007.
He is the first Brooks Bandit player to ever be selected directly from the team in an NHL Draft. His draft stock did nothing but rise throughout the season, beginning with his being named to the Futures List by NHL Central Scouting last summer, then a “B” prospect initially, then an “A” prospect later this past season, followed by a 10th-ranking among North American skaters in January, and a ninth-overall final ranking among North American skaters in April.
The 1998-born defenceman led all AJHL players at his position in scoring this past season with 75 points (24 goals, 51 assists), ranking sixth overall in league scoring and fifth in overall assists. He added 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) in 13 games as the Bandits captured the Gas Drive Cup as AJHL champions, then a further eight points (three goals, five assists) in five games at the Western Canada Cup, also won by the Bandits for the first time in franchise history, and ranked second in scoring at the 2017 RBC Cup with eight points (two goals, six assists) in five games.
The stellar season was also reflected in the plethora of awards Makar received, including the AJHL Top Defenceman award, AJHL Most Valuable Player, AJHL All-League Team, AJHL Playoff MVP, Western Canada Cup All-Tournament Team and Top Defenceman, and RBC Cup Top Defenceman and Most Valuable Player, the first player to ever be named RBC Cup MVP in back-to-back years.
Makar also became the first Bandit to ever win the CJHL Most Valuable Player Award, and the second Bandit ever to win the prestigious RBC National Junior A Player of the Year Award.
His rookie campaign with the Bandits in 2015-16 saw him record 55 points (10 goals, 45 assists) in 54 games, being named to the AJHL All-League and All-Rookie teams, winning AJHL and CJHL Rookie of the Year Awards, as well as the Western Canada Cup Top Defenceman Award, and the RBC Cup Top Defenceman, Top Scorer, and Most Valuable Player Awards.
In both of his AJHL seasons, he was selected by Hockey Canada to compete for Team Canada West at the World Junior A Challenge, where he was named to the Tournament All-Star Team both years, winning a gold medal in 2015 and setting a tournament single-game record for points by a defenceman in 2016.
His Junior A career began in the 2015 playoffs as an affiliate player for the Bandits, after completing his minor hockey with the Northwest Calgary Athletic Association (NWCAA) Midget AAA Flames.
He is committed to attend and play for the University of Massachusetts beginning in the 2017-18 season.
Brooks Bandits’ Parker Foo drafted by Chicago Blackhawks in 5th round
An historic year set new highs for the Brooks Bandits, as 1998-born forward Parker Foo (Edmonton) was selected by the Chicago Blackhawks in the fifth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, with the 144th overall pick.
Foo is the second player in franchise history to be selected by an NHL team directly from the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL).
The 18-year old is coming off a sensational sophomore scoring campaign with the Bandits, in which he scored 66 points (34 goals, 32 assists) in 60 regular season games. He was second on the Bandits in goal scoring, and fourth overall in the AJHL in goals as well. He added a further 20 points (10 goals, 10 assists) in just 13 AJHL playoff games, ranking second on the Bandits in scoring, fourth in the AJHL, and second in the league in playoff goals.
He tied for the team lead in scoring at the 2017 Western Canada Cup, placing second overall with nine points (five goals, four assists) in five games as the Bandits won that title for the first time in franchise history, and followed that up with five points (two goals, three assists) in five games at the 2017 RBC Cup.
He was named the team’s Most Improved Player after scoring 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in 44 games with the Bandits in 2015-16, after being signed just before the 2015 AJHL Showcase. He is committed to NCAA Division I Union College to begin his postsecondary hockey career next season.
Educational pursuits
Bandit players have also been enjoying success in their transition to post-secondary education.
This season 13 players from the Bandits’ 2016-17 roster have committed to an NCAA Division I institution, the most such commitments in the AJHL.
Players from the 2016-17 Bandits roster committed to an NCAA Division I school:
• Cale Makar (University of Massachusetts);
• Dennis Cesana (Michigan State University);
• Josh McKechney (Colgate University);
• Parker Foo (Union College);
• Joe O’Connor (Quinnipiac University);
• Charlie Marchand (Bentley University);
• Ocean Wiesblatt (University of Vermont);
• Orca Wiesblatt (University of Vermont);
• Nick Prkusic (Robert Morris University);
• Oliver Chau (University of Massachusetts);
• Arnaud Vachon (Colgate University)
• Mitch Benson (University of Alaska Fairbanks);
• Conner Jean (College of the Holy Cross, Located in Worcester, Massachusetts).

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