Cale Makar earns praise for telling ref penalty that could have helped his NHL team wasn’t warranted

WATCH ABOVE: Some recent videos from the world of hockey.

A Calgary-raised player who some hockey commentators call the most exciting defenceman to play in the National Hockey League since Bobby Orr is now receiving praise for his character for an act of integrity rarely seen in professional sports.

Cale Makar, a star player for the Colorado Avalanche, earned accolades on social media for what he did during an NHL game against the New York Islanders on Monday night.

READ MORE: Cale Makar wins Norris Trophy as NHL’s top defenceman

During the first period, the 24-year-old — who was named the league’s top defenceman last season — went down behind his net as Islanders forward Mathew Barzal tried to get the puck from him with his stick. The referee put up his arm to signal a delayed penalty on Barzal, but Makar waved his hand to indicate to the ref that he actually just slipped and a penalty was not warranted.

Story continues below advertisement

After the game, Makar told reporters that he “would have felt a lot less guilty if I didn’t say anything than if I did.”

“I apologize to (my teammates). I don’t plan on doing that again.”

Makar’s unselfish act drew a compliment from the Islanders’ head coach.

“(He’s) just an honest player who wants to beat you fair and square,” Lane Lambert said.

Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said Makar’s actions “just kind of shows you who Cale is.”

New York Islanders centre Mathew Barzal, left, tangles with Colorado Avalanche defenceman Cale Makar in overtime during an NHL hockey game Monday, Dec. 19, 2022, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Reid Wilkins, who hosts the radio show Inside Sports on 630 CHED and covers the Edmonton Oilers, spoke to Global News about the unusual act during a competitive hockey game.

Story continues below advertisement

“I’ve never seen that before,” Wilkins said. “I’m not just talking about a ref changing his mind on a call. I also mean a player convincing a ref to not give his team a power play.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“I wonder if Makar will be able to successfully talk his way out of the penalty box the next time he’s called for something.”

The Avalanche earned a 1-0 shootout win over the Islanders in Monday night’s game in Denver.

READ MORE: Cale Makar’s day with Stanley Cup a repeat of his own childhood experience

The Avalanche won the Stanley Cup last season.

Below are a few of the tweets about Makar that got traction on Twitter on Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

Story continues below advertisement

–With files from Michael Kelly, The Associated Press

Sponsored content