The Orlando Solar Bears started September with a bang by agreeing to terms on Tuesday afternoon with Canadian forward Jake Coughler. The centreman returns to Orlando on a standard player contract for the upcoming season.
Coughler, who played 30 games with Orlando, scored 13 goals along with nine assists which made for a total of 22 points. The centreman amassed these totals before sustaining an injury that would cut short his season. Coughler joined the Solar Bears hockey club after nine games played overseas in Slovakia. While with HC Dukla Trencin, Coughler recorded two goals along with two assists for a total of four points.
Throughout the 2019-20 season, the right-handed shooter had a flare for the dramatics. Coughler scored 13 goals, three of which were game-winning goals. When the 24-year-old scored, Orlando soared to an 8-2-1-0 record.
Prior to making the jump pro, Coughler played two years in U Sports with the St. Mary’s Huskies in the AUS. During those two seasons, Coughler recorded 27 goals along with 36 assists for 63 points. He skated in 60 games played in which he also added 32 penalty minutes.
During his freshmen season, Coughler, in 2017-18, was named by the school to the AUS All-Rookie team. Coughler also played four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. There, his junior tenure was split between the Charlottetown Islanders, Gatineau Olympiques and Halifax Mooseheads. From 2013-2017, Coughler scored 65 goals along with 60 assists for 125 points. He played 215 games in which he also added 104 penalty minutes.
In an interview posted on Tuesday with Jesse Liebman, voice of the Solar Bears, Coughler revealed that he’s been back home in St. Catherines, Ontario rehabbing from surgery. This was to repair the injury which he suffered in February that saw his season cut short. Coughler attributed his slow start with the Orlando Solar Bears to changing leagues and teams.
However, once he built chemistry with his teammates, he was more consistent and dynamic as a goal scorer. As he continues to get familiar with the league, coach Berehowsky will be banking on another strong season from him. Perhaps he can also keep up the .773 winning percentage Orlando has when he scores.