After scoring the first NHL goal of his career last night against the Minnesota Wild, Dylan Coghlan already had reason to celebrate.
The Las Vegas Golden Knights rookie, however, was just getting started.
Coghlan proceeded to score three goals in what amounted to a 4-3 loss.
The 23-year-old’s accomplishment was historically rare as he became just the third defenceman in league history to record his first three goals in a single game.
“It was so exciting, I don’t actually remember,” said Melanie Coghlan, Dylan’s mother who watched the game from her home in Nanaimo. “I feel like I blacked out after the first goal but I was crying like a baby, I think we all were.”
“If you told me I was going to get three goals in a National Hockey League game, I would’ve laughed in your face,” said Dylan Coghlan via Zoom from Las Vegas.
The Duncan-born, Nanaimo-raised hockey product told CHEK News that he last recorded a hat-trick when he was just ten years old, playing for the Campbell River Tyees.
It was a few years earlier, however, when Coghlin first fell in love with the game.
“He’s had this dream since he was little,” said Melanie. “He used to sleep in his gear when he was little, he would sit in his room and learn to tie his skates…he was very driven.”
Coghlan’s family moved several times growing up and he played for several minor hockey programs throughout the north and central Island.
As a young teen, Coghlan moved to Washington State and played for the WHL’s Tri-City Americans.
Although he established himself as a top-tier defenceman in junior hockey, Coghlan was passed on in the NHL draft not once, but twice.
Instead of giving up, Coghlan grinded his way to a minor league contract.
“There was definitely a fire in me from the moment people doubted me,” said Coghlan, who made his NHL debut last month. “I knew I could do it and here I am.”
After spending a few years in the minors and hearing many people say he wasn’t good enough, Coghlan proved last night that he not only belongs but could have a very bright future ahead.
Coghlan hopes his story of resilience will help inspire others to overcome their own adversity.
“Make the best of what you got and try not to get too down on yourself,” said Coghlin. “Just keep pushing and you’ll be good.”