Bowling Green State University hockey forward Nathan Burke has signed a contract with the Orlando Solar Bears, the ECHL affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Burke, a native of Scottsdale, Arizona, spent two seasons at BGSU, scoring a team-best 33 goals in that span. In 2022, he became the program’s eighth Academic All-American.
“If I could come back for another year, I would. It’s obviously not the way I wanted our season to end, but I can’t thank this whole community enough,” said Burke.
“Special thanks to our coaching staff, the faculty, the teachers, and my teammates. This place is something special and it’s always going to have a special place in my heart. I’m looking forward to having an opportunity in Orlando, similar to when I came here.”
Burke finished the 2022-23 regular season with 17 goals, ranking second on the team and third in the CCHA. He had a team-best seven power play goals, which is second in the conference and 14th in the nation.
He was named CCHA Forward of the Week on Nov. 21, 2022, following a four-point weekend against Ferris State. Burke concluded his collegiate career with 46 goals and 34 assists for 80 points, compiling those totals in 157 games.
Last season, Burke had a team-high 16 goals and was nominated for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award. He was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-American third team, making him one of only eight players in program history to earn Academic All-American. He was also a CCHA Scholar-Athlete and AHCA All-American Scholar.
“We’re really happy for Nathan to get an opportunity to begin his pro hockey career,” BGSU coach Ty Eigner said. “He took a chance on Bowling Green a couple of years ago when he transferred here, then took advantage of his opportunity here.
“We’re all about opportunity. Nathan came here and took advantage of that opportunity on the ice with his play and took advantage of the academic opportunity. He’s going to leave here with a pro contract and an MBA, so we’re really proud of him for that. We wish him the best of luck as he starts his pro career.”