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NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — The Orlando Solar Bears have announced that the club has been loaned defenseman Kārlis Čukste by the San Jose Barracuda of the American Hockey League. The Barracuda have simultaneously recalled defenseman Chaz Reddekopp from the Solar Bears.
Čukste (SHOOK-stuh), 23, joins Orlando after posting one goal in three games with the Barracuda in his first season of professional hockey, after signing an AHL contract with San Jose on Sept. 1, 2020. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound blueliner began the season playing for Latvia’s HK Mogo, where he tallied 16 points (9g-7a) in 16 games.
Prior to turning pro, the native of Riga, Latvia played four seasons of college hockey at Quinnipiac University, where he had 66 points (14g-52a) in 148 games for the Bobcats program.
The left-shooting rearguard played one season of junior hockey for the Chicago Steel of the United States Hockey League, where he had 15 points (4g-11a) in 44 games.
During the 2016-17 season, Čukste represented his homeland at the IIHF World Junior Championship, appearing in six matches and collecting three points (1g-2a).
Čukste was selected by San Jose in the fifth round (#130 overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Reddekopp, 24, has skated in three games with Orlando this season after he was loaned to the Solar Bears by San Jose on March 16. He has also appeared in seven ECHL games with the Allen Americans, adding one assist and has skated in two contests with San Jose.
The Solar Bears take the ice tonight for their first of three road games against the South Carolina Stingrays at the North Charleston Coliseum at 7:05 p.m. The Solar Bears are back on home ice when they host Burrito Day Bash, presented by Qdoba against the Florida Everblades at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center on Thursday, April 1 at 7 p.m.
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About the Orlando Solar Bears:
The Orlando Solar Bears are the proud affiliate of the NHL’s Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and members of the ECHL, the premier “AA” hockey league in North America. In eight seasons of operation, the team has qualified for the Kelly Cup Playoffs five times. The Solar Bears are owned and operated by the Orlando Magic and the DeVos Family, and play at the AdventHealth Rink at Amway Center, the 2012 Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal Sports Facility of the Year.
Officially licensed Orlando Solar Bears replica team jerseys, apparel, and headwear can be purchased at orlandosolarbearshockey.com/shop.