Most people know Cale Makar as a young rising superstar with the Stanley Cup finalist Colorado Avalanche, but to Brooks, he's way more than just an exciting NHL player.
Before he was drafted number 4 overall in the 2017 NHL draft, Makar was the star of the Brooks Bandits.
"With Cale, he did everything you could possibly do in Brooks, back-to-back league championships, went to two national finals, and was CJHL player of the year twice. He was the star of this league. The CJHL never really had a star like this before," said Brooks Bandits business manager and play-by-play announcer Nathan Crosby.
Makar's success with the Bandits has carried over into the NHL. He's in discussions to win the Conn Smythe trophy and has 22 points in only 14 playoff games. Crosby says seeing Makar dominate in the NHL playoffs has been special for Brooks.
"It's been really amazing to watch, and I think there's a real sense of pride not just within the Brooks Bandits organization but around our community and region. I think everyone is so proud that he played in Brooks, he developed here, and now has stepped into the spotlight here as one of the superstars of the National Hockey League."
"It's really cool that every time I watch a game that he plays in, at some point in the broadcast they'll mention the Brooks Bandits, and that's pretty special. And it's special not just for our team, the city really embraces it. It's something everyone is really proud of."
Makar's rapid rise in the NHL ranks isn't a big surprise to Crosby though.
"I guess for us it's not a huge surprise because we knew how special a kid he was."
"You knew that this was going to be someone that was going to turn into something."
Makar is special on the ice, but he may be even more noteworthy off the ice. Crosby says Makar is a great person, and was an absolute joy to be around when he was living in Brooks.
"One of the things that really stands out about Cale when you meet him, everyone walks away saying what a down to earth grounded person he is. The character of him is top notch."
"Not only an amazing hockey player, but an amazing person as well. The league, our team, everyone here, we're so lucky that he spent time here."
Given how wonderful Makar is on and off the ice, it's no surprise that Brooks is cheering for him and the Avalanche to win it all.
"I haven't talked to many people around Brooks that are cheering for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brooks has become the Denver North and we're all cheering for the Avalanche. What we're seeing here is the growth of a very very special hockey player."
At only 23 years old, Makar may just be hitting his stride, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.
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