Avalanche's Cale Makar makes cover of NHL 24 in 'wow' moment

Cale Makar's top plays of the 2023-23 season (1:59)

Relive Cale Makars top plays of the 2022-23 season as he makes the cover of EA Sports' "NHL 24." (1:59)

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar will grace the cover of EA Sports' NHL 24 video game, it was announced.

"It's so cool," Makar told 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, is considered the best young defenseman in the NHL. In his four seasons, Makar has won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year, the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman and the 2021-22 Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP during the Avalanche's Stanley Cup championship run.

Legends such as Wayne Gretzky have compared Makar to Hockey Hall of Famer Bobby Orr for his dominant play offensively and defensively.

"It's hard for me to comprehend that," Makar said. "I'm 24. The amount that he accomplished in his career is pretty much insurmountable. I'm nowhere near that point yet."

Makar said he grew up playing the blockbuster EA Sports series as a young fan in Calgary. He recalled seeing Flames Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla grace the cover. He said he first really got into the game in 2007, when Alex Ovechkin was the face of the game.

"[Cale] is a massively successful player already at such a young part of his career," said Mike Inglehart, senior design director at EA Sports and one of the architects of the NHL 24 edition. "We feel he's the kind of player that no matter who you support, you can't help but appreciate what he brings to the ice. 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."

Makar is just the third defenseman in the past 20 years to make the cover of the game, along with Dion Phaneuf (NHL 09) and P.K. Subban (NHL 19). Last year's game featured two athletes on the cover: Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras and Canadian women's national team star Sarah Nurse.

The latest EA Sports NHL game is expected to be released in early October. Details on gameplay innovations will be revealed later this week.