Sports in Erie, Pennsylvania

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There are numerous sports teams in Erie, Pennsylvania, all of which are minor league. There are also numerous college sports teams along with high school teams. District 10 high school sports are played in the area, often with close results due to the even distribution of athletic talent. Throughout history, Erie has had various semi-pro and professional sports teams. The city hosts the nationally recognized McDonald's Classic.[1]

Club League Sport Venue Capacity Founded Championships
Erie SeaWolves EL Baseball UPMC Park 6,000 1989  
Erie BayHawks D-League Basketball Erie Insurance Arena 6,754 2008  
Erie Otters OHL Ice hockey Erie Insurance Arena 6,833 1996 1 (2001–02)
Erie Commodores FC NPSL Soccer McConnell Family Stadium 2,500 2009  
Erie Illusion USWFL Women's football Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium 10,000 2003  



The Erie SeaWolves play baseball in the Eastern League as the Double-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers. They play at UPMC Park.

The SeaWolves were originally the Single-A affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Coincidentally, the "Pirates" moniker originated with the Pittsburgh Alleghenys' pursuit of second-baseman and Erie native, Lou Bierbauer, in 1891. Bierbauer started his career with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, later joining the Brooklyn Ward's Wonders of the newfound Players' League for the 1890 season. When the Players' League folded in 1891, most of the members went back to their former National League or American Association clubs. However, Bierbauer never signed a contract to return to the Athletics, and the Alleghenys were determined to sign him before other teams noticed. Ned Hanlon, manager of the Alleghenys, braved the icy conditions of Presque Isle during a snowstorm to commit Bierbauer. When the Athletics learned about this secret deal, they objected to Bierbauer's signing and demanded his return to their club. An official with the American Association also objected to Bierbauer's contract with the Alleghenys, calling their actions "piratical." Yet, the league ruled in favor of the Alleghenys, and they acquired Bierbauer as a free agent. Soon afterward, both players and their fans referred to the team as the "Pittsburgh Pirates." In 1891, the club officially rebranded as the "Pirates," making light of their critics.[2]


The Erie Otters play hockey in the Ontario Hockey League at Erie Insurance Arena.

Connor McDavid, a Canadian center, played for the Erie Otters from 2012 to 2015, before joining the Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League (NHL). The Otters chose him as their first overall pick in the OHL Priority Selection Draft. The NHL Central Scouting Bureau subsequently named McDavid the top North American prospect for the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, where the Oilers selected him first overall.[3][4] The Greater Toronto Hockey League named McDavid "Player of the Year" for the 2011–12 season following a record of 79 goals and 130 assists. Hockey Canada, the governing body for amateur hockey in Canada, granted McDavid "Exceptional Player" status, which permitted him to play in the OHL a year earlier than would otherwise be permissible for a player his age. He was only the third player to receive that status, after John Tavares and Aaron Ekblad.[5]


The Erie BayHawks play basketball in the NBA Development League at Erie Insurance Arena.

Erie Insurance Arena


Erie Commodores FC play soccer in the National Premier Soccer League at McConnell Family Stadium.


The Erie Illusion plays football in the United States Women's Football League at Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Stock car racing[edit]

Outside of North East, Pennsylvania is Lake Erie Speedway, a 3/8 mile (0.6 km) NASCAR sanctioned race track.

Professional athletes from Erie[edit]


  1. ^ Webb, Dennis. "Erie Host's McDonald's Classic". Blogger News. Retrieved 2007-05-25. 
  2. ^ Why is our baseball team called the Pirates? Pittsburgh City Paper, August 14, 2003.
  3. ^ NHL Central Scouting's 2015 final rankings, National Hockey League, April 8, 2015 
  4. ^ Strang, Katie. "Highly touted prospect Connor McDavid goes No. 1 overall to Oilers". Retrieved June 27, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Connor McDavid granted exceptional status, now eligible for OHL draft". National Post. March 21, 2012.