Cale Makar cancels penalty on Mat Barzal
(Screenshots/ Altitude TV)

Cale Makar has great sportsmanship.

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar told the ref not to call a penalty on New York Islanders forward Mat Barzal on Monday night. The ref called Barzal for tripping but Makar signaled to the ref to waive it off.

The sequence unfolded at the end of the first period at Ball Arena with the game tied 0-0. Makar was certainly in the holiday spirit with Christmas right around the corner.

As Makar skated around his net with the puck, he fell down as he appeared to be tripped by Barzal. The ref raised his hand to signal a penalty and everyone thought New York would be shorthanded. Makar, though, immediately signaled to the ref to cancel the penalty.

Video replays show that Makar fell on his own and wasn’t actually tripped by Barzal. Most players wouldn’t care and would take the power play regardless. Makar is different, though, and made sure the ref canceled the Avalanche’s power play.

Check out this awesome moment of sportsmanship:


Barzal was surprised as anyone that he didn’t have to serve the penalty. The Colorado commentators were also unsure if this was even possible. Nobody could believe that Makar really did just cancel his own team’s power play.

Makar did feel bad after the game for not letting his team get the power play. “I felt pretty guilty toward the boys”, Makar said in his post-game interview. Makar added that this won’t happen again.

Reporters also asked Barzal about what transpired. Barzal was confused by what happened but said he appreciated the sportsmanship from Makar.

“I honestly didn’t even know he waived it off until I saw it after, said Barzal. “I thought the ref just made the call. Obviously good sportsmanship on his part. I don’t know if I would have done the same to be honest with you. I’m glad they got it right.”

While this is rare to see in the NHL, it isn’t completely out of the ordinary. Just last season, Washington Capitals’ legend Alex Ovechkin declined a penalty on the Vegas Golden Knights. The ref called Vegas forward Max Pacioretty for tripping, but Ovechkin said he lost balance and it shouldn’t be a penalty.

Makar and Ovechkin are amazing hockey players who clearly care about protecting the integrity of the game. Now that we’ve seen two prominent superstars do this, perhaps more NHL players will follow suit. It’s easy for refs to get calls wrong with hockey played at such a fast pace nowadays.

Makar has already won the Norris Trophy, Stanley Cup and Conne Smythe trophy before the age of 24, and now he’s put himself in the Lady Byng conversation with this awesome gesture. What can’t Cale Makar do!?