LETHBRIDGE, Alta. –
It was a historic win for the Colorado Avalanche last night as they dethroned the reigning champs, the Tampa Bay Lightning, to claim their third Stanley Cup.
A major contributor for the Avs was defender Cale Makar, whose 29 points in 20 games earned him the Conn Smythe Award given to the playoffs most valuable player.
“Obviously so grateful and just honoured to be a part of this success and to help guys that have been through the ups and downs of this team succeed,” Makar said during a postgame interview.
“It’s surreal. I’m not too worried about this individual stuff, just celebrating the main thing with the boys.”
Cale Makar is presented with Conn Smythe trophy as the outstanding performer of the 2022 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Prior to being drafted fourth overall by the Avalanche in 2017, the Calgary native spent three seasons with the Brooks Bandits, which included a 75 point year in 2016-2017.
On top of winning the Conn Smythe, Makar took home the James Norris Memorial trophy as the league’s top defender.
He also won the Calder Memorial trophy for best rookie back in 2019-2020.
Makar said he attributes his success to his team and the tough opposition they’ve faced year after year.
“They pushed me so hard all year and just to be the player that I developed into throughout the season,” he said following the NHL Awards on June 1st.
“A lot of credit goes to them and just motivating me and stuff. It’s awesome when you have great competition like that. Makes it a lot more fun.”
Another key player on the Avs was rookie defender Bowen Byram from Cranbrook, B.C.
Byram had nine assists in the post season and his long time coach, Michael Dyck, says it was a pleasure to watch him play.
“It’s been a lot of fun to watch him grow as a person and as a hockey player and so proud of what he’s accomplished,” Dyck told CTV News.
“Not only winning the Stanley Cup but about how well he played through the entire Stanley Cup playoffs.”
Dyck and Byram’s history goes all the way back to peewee hockey in Cranbrook and carried through to the Lethbridge Golden Hawks, the Vancouver Giants and the 2021 World Juniors.
Dyck said he can’t wait to chat with Byram once the excitement starts to settle.
“He’s had a great opportunity, I’m sure, to enjoy the win with the family and his teammates and now he gets an opportunity to go back to Denver and enjoy it with the fans,” he said.
“When things start to calm down a little bit, I’m looking forward to having that conversation with him.”
A Stanley Cup victory parade for Makar, Byram and the Avalanche will be held in Denver on Thursday.