BROOKS, AB (February 26, 2016) – Brooks Bandits defenceman Cale Makar (Calgary, AB) has been named the 2016 winner of the Dick White Trophy as the Rookie of the Year in the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL), it was announced today.
Makar, 17, is the second Bandit in franchise history to win the award, joining now-University of Vermont forward Anthony Petruzzelli (Federal Way, WA), who won in 2012. With 50 points (7 goals, 43 assists) in 49 games played this season, Makar ranks third among all rookies in scoring, second among defencemen in points, and sixth in the entire AJHL in assists.
“Based on Cale's exceptional play in last year’s playoffs as an affiliate, our staff expected him to have an outstanding rookie season,” said Bandits head coach and general manager Ryan Papaioannou. “His abilities with the puck are second to none and he sees the ice extremely well.”
“Cale loves to jump into the rush and push the pace offensively,” Papaioannou added. “He is a key component to our team success and this recognition as rookie of the year is a great vote of confidence from opposing coaches.”
The 5’10”, 175lb defenceman joined the Bandits as an affiliate player in the 2014-15 regular season, and dressed in all 20 playoff games last season. He led the Northwest Calgary Athletic Association (NWCAA) Midget AAA Flames in scoring this past season with 23 points (7 goals, 16 assists) in 34 league games, being named the team’s Most Valuable Player as well as one of two First Team All-Star defencemen by the Alberta Midget Hockey League (AMHL).
Makar signed with the Bandits in mid-May, and in late August committed to the University of Massachusetts Minutemen. Along with teammate Shane Bear (Calgary, AB), Makar captured a gold medal with Team Canada West at the most recent World Junior A Challenge tournament, in Cobourg, Ontario.
He was one of two South division rookies nominated for this year’s award by the division’s coaches earlier this month, and was selected from a field of four candidates, two from each division, by all AJHL coaches.
The Bandit organization would like to congratulate Cale on yet another spectacular achievement in his first full AJHL campaign, and looks forward to his continuing contributions as the team embarks on another playoff run in a few weeks’ time.