Story by Jeff Gard/jgsportsmedia.com
Ethan Doyle is returning to the Cobourg Cougars, but he’s a different player now than during his first stint with the Ontario Junior Hockey League club.
On Thursday, the Cougars announced the acquisition of Doyle from the Whitby Fury in exchange for Kolby Poulin and a player development fee.
Doyle, now 19, played 51 games for the Cougars as a 16-year-old rookie three seasons ago and registered eight goals and 12 assists. In 23 games the following season, he had four goals and three assists before being traded to the Pickering Panthers.
With more opportunity elsewhere, Doyle blossomed into a big point producer and a player coaches could trust and count on in all aspects of the game.
Following the trade during the 2018-2019 season, Doyle scored 15 goals and added 17 assists for 32 points in 32 games. Last season, he continued playing above a point-a-game pace, leading the Fury with 20 goals and 33 assists for 53 points in 45 games.
“I know he’s a Whitby boy and played in Whitby last year, but I think he’s coming home to a place where he started his junior career,” said Cougars head coach David DeMarinis. “We’re just very excited to have him back.”
It was DeMarinis, then coach and general manager of the Panthers in Pickering, who acquired Doyle from the Cougars in 2018.
“We were in a little bit of a slump and he came in as a 17-year-old and turned our season around,” DeMarinis said. “That’s the ability he has and that’s the type of player and person he is. I think we’re getting one of the best players in the league and we’re getting a first-class person off the ice, a natural leader.”
More ice time and opportunity in Pickering enabled Doyle to showcase his skills and become an impact player.
“We inserted him on our top line probably three games after we acquired him and he just took off so I think it was just a little more playing time that he got and he played with some older players,” DeMarinis said. “His IQ is through the roof, his work ethic, he understands the game, he understands the concepts of what coaches are teaching, he plays the way we want to play.
“He’s a kid you put on the ice and can trust at all times and know he’s going to do what you want to do. He always seems to be on an odd-man rush or be alone in front of the net or creating something out of nothing or making a pass that maybe not a lot of other kids would see.”
No start date has been announced yet for the 2020-2021 OJHL season, but the Cougars will begin training next week at the Cobourg Community Centre.
“We’ll be back on the ice on Monday,” DeMarinis said. “We’re looking forward to having the group together, starting to skate and having the opportunity to do that. We take little gains every time we can get them during this tough time, but I think it’s a step in the right direction. I think the guys are excited just to step on the ice and be with their teammates.”