With less than two months to go until the start of the 2023-24 season, EA Sports has named Colorado Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar as their cover athlete for the upcoming NHL 24.
Makar will become just the third Avalanche player to appear on the cover of the video game series. He’ll be the first to do so since Joe Sakic replaced Danny Heatley on the cover of NHL 2004.
“It’s so cool,” Makar said to ESPN. “When they were considering me to be a part of this, it was just kind of like a ‘wow’ moment. You grow up, you play all these games.”
Makar, 24, has established himself as one of the league’s best defensemen. He won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year during the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season, tallying 50 points (12g, 38a) in 57 games.
Makar proved vital to the Avalanche on their way to a Stanley Cup victory in 2022, recording 86 points (28g, 58a) in that regular season and adding 29 points (8g, 21a) in 20 playoff games. That year’s total performance earned him the Norris and Conn Smythe trophies, making him just the third defenseman ever to win both awards in the same season. He joined the hall of famers Bobby Orr and Nicklas Lidstrom in that regard.
Though injuries limited him to just 60 games last year, Makar still put up 66 points (17g, 49a) and became the fastest defenseman in NHL history to earn 200 career points. He received his third straight Norris nomination though ultimately placing third in voting after Erik Karlsson and Adam Fox.
“There was a natural fit to not just what he’s accomplished, and what people appreciate about him as a player, but also how he embodies some of the features in our gameplay,” EA Sports Senior Design Director Mike Inglehart told ESPN.
The full trailer and release date for NHL 24 will drop on Wednesday at 11 am Eastern Time via EA Sports NHL’s YouTube channel.
Headline photo courtesy of EA Sports
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