|League||Ontario Hockey League|
|Home arena||Louis J. Tullio Arena|
|Colors||Navy Blue, Red, Yellow and Gold|
|General manager||Sherwood Bassin|
|Head coach||Robbie Ftorek|
|1953-60||Hamilton Tiger Cubs|
|1960-74||Hamilton Red Wings|
|1976-77||St. Catharines Fincups|
|1988-96||Niagara Falls Thunder|
The Erie Otters are a major junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League. The Otters have played in Erie, Pennsylvania from 1996 to present at the Louis J. Tullio Arena. They are the only Pennsylvania team in the OHL and one of three United States-based teams in the league. They are also the youngest team in the OHL, having been founded the OHL one year after the Barrie Colts.
The Erie Otters can trace their history back to the inception of the original Windsor Spitfires. From that time on the team has been renamed seven times and moved to seven different locations. The team spent most of it's time (28 years total) in Hamilton, Ontario under four separate team names; The Tiger Cubs, The Red Wings, The Fincups, and The Steelhawks. In 1988 the team was moved to Niagara Falls, Ontario, where they spent eight years as the Niagara Falls Thunder. Finally, the team moved to Erie, Pennsylvania, taking on the name of The Erie Otters and replacing the former Erie Panthers team that moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana that same year. The team takes its name from the river otter, a creature common to the south shore of Lake Erie.
The first three years in Erie were building years for the Otters, with the team eliminated in the first round of the playoffs each year. In the fourth year, all the hard work paid off with their first Midwest Division championship. It would be their first of three consecutive Midwest Division Championships, culminating in an OHL Championship in 2001-2002.
2001-2002 OHL Champions
In the 2001-2002 season, the Erie Otters became the second OHL team based in the United States, to win the OHL Championship. The first were the 1995 champions Detroit Junior Red Wings (now the Plymouth Whalers).
After a disappointing conference finals loss to Plymouth the previous year, the Otters used their experience and work ethic to push themselves through the playoffs. Otters players had a puck holder hung on the wall of the dressing room with 16 slots to fill, equal to the number of wins needed for the title. Erie earned that 16th puck by defeating the Barrie Colts in game 5 of the 2002 finals.
Two-time OHL MVP Brad Boyes led the Otters as captain. Team members for the 2002 championship were:
- T. J. Aceti, Chris Berti, Brad Bonello, Brad Boyes, Chris Campoli, Carlo Colaiacovo, Noel Coultice, Sean Courtney, Brandon Cullen, Scott Dobben, Jeff Doyle, Chris Eade, David Herring, Alex Karaulchuk, Mical Kokavec, Brian Lee, Thomas Lee, Chris Martin, Mike McKeown, Adam Munro, Cory Pecker, Mike Rice, Dave MacQueen (coach), Sherwood Bassin (GM)
Dave MacQueen won the Matt Leyden Trophy in 2000-01 as the OHL Coach of the Year. Sherwood Bassin was awarded OHL Executive of the Year in 2001-02 for his role in building a championship team as general manager.
- J. Ross Robertson Cup (OHL Champions)
- Wayne Gretzky Trophy (Western Conference Champions)
- Hamilton Spectator Trophy (1st place regular season)
2000-2001 (102 points)
- Holody Trophy (Midwest Division Champions)
1999-2000, 2000-2001, 2001-2002
- 1996-1997 Chris Johnstone, Dale Dunbar
- 1997-1998 Dale Dunbar (2)
- 1998-1999 Paul Theriault
- 1999-2006 Dave MacQueen (7)
- 2006-2007 Peter Sidorkiewicz (2)
- 2007-2009 Robbie Ftorek (2)
Since the first season in Erie, 190 players have taken the ice for the Otters. Of those, 35 have been selected at the NHL Entry Draft. The Blackhawks have picked the most, with five former Otters chosen. From 1997 to 2001 seven members of the team were selected in the first round of the draft. Below is a list of the first round draft picks from the Otters. There are currently nine former Otters playing in the NHL for the 2008-2009 season.
|1997||11th||Jason Ward||Montreal Canadiens|
|1998||9th||Michael Rupp||New York Islanders|
|1999||5th||Tim Connolly||New York Islanders|
|2000||8th||Nikita Alexeev||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2000||24th||Brad Boyes||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|2001||17th||Carlo Colaiacovo||Toronto Maple Leafs|
|2001||29th||Adam Munro||Chicago Blackhawks|
|2005||15th||Ryan O'Marra||New York Islanders|
See also: List of Drafted Erie Otters Players
- 1999-00 - Brad Boyes, CHL Scholastic Player of the Year Award, Bobby Smith Trophy (OHL Scholastic Player of the Year)
- 2000-01 - Brad Boyes, Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player), William Hanley Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player)
- 2000-01 - Joey Sullivan, Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy (Humanitarian of the Year)
- 2001-02 - Brad Boyes, CHL Sportsman of the Year Award, Red Tilson Trophy (Most Outstanding Player), William Hanley Trophy (Most Sportsmanlike Player), Wayne Gretzky 99 Award (Playoffs MVP)
- 2001-02 - Cory Pecker, Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy (Overage Player of the Year)
- 2001-02 - T.J. Aceti, Hap Emms Memorial Trophy (Best Goalie during Memorial Cup)
- 2003-04 - Chris Campoli, CHL Humanitarian of the Year, Dan Snyder Memorial Trophy (OHL Humanitarian of the Year)
- 2006-07 - Derrick Bagshaw, Roger Neilson Memorial Award (Top Academic University Player)
- 2007 - Ryan O’Reilly, Jack Ferguson Award (First Overall draft pick)
- Brad Boyes (#16)
Current as of February 20th, 2009
Jerseys and Logos
The Otters' logo is of an otter with a hockey stick. The jersey trim is red, yellow, and gold. Home jerseys are white, while away jerseys are navy blue. For the 2005-06 season the team unveiled their 10th anniversary jersey. This new 3rd jersey is maroon with red, yellow and gold trim. The logo on the 3rd jersey was also changed to be a scripted "Erie", with the word "Otters" underneath. More recently the Otters have had limited edition jerseys as well. These include a black on pink rendition of the home jersey , and this coming March, the otters will be wearing a green based jersey for St. Patrick's Day. The pink jerseys are sold with proceeds benefiting the John Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation.
The Erie Otters play home games at the Louis J. Tullio Arena located in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. Built in 1983 with 5,500 seats, the arena is part of the Erie Civic Center Complex, which includes Jerry Uht Park (Home of the AA Erie Seawolves). The Tullio Arena has repeatedly been named as the loudest arena in the OHL. During the finals of the 2001 playoffs the arena decided to sell standing room only seats, leading to nearly 6,500 fans during game 5.
- Louis J. Tullio Arena The OHL Arena & Travel Guide
|Team Records for a single season|
|Most Goals For||271||1998-99|
|Least Goals For||181||2002-03|
|Least Goals Against||171||2000-01|
|Most Goals Against||378||2006-07|
|Individual player records for a single season|
|Most Goals||Cory Pecker||53||2001-02|
|Most Assists||Colin Pepperall||60||1997-98|
|Most Points||Cory Pecker||99||2001-02|
|Most Points, rookie||Joe Guenther||66||2000-01|
|Most Points, defenceman||Chris Campoli||66||2003-04|
|Most Penalty Minutes||Adam Nittel||309||1997-98|
|Best GAA (Goalie)||Adam Munro||2.31||2000-01|
|Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played|
Legend: OTL = Overtime loss, SL = Shoot Out Loss
- 1996-97 Lost to Guelph Storm in 5 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
- 1997-98 Lost to London Knights in 7 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
- 1998-99 Lost to Guelph Storm in 5 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
- 1999-00 Defeated Brampton Battalion in 6 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
Lost to S.S. Marie Greyhounds in 7 games in Western Semi-Final.
- 2000-01 Defeated London Knights in 5 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
- 2001-02 Defeated Sarnia Sting in 5 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
Defeated London Knights in 6 games in Western Semi-Final.
Defeated Windsor Spitfires in 5 games in Western Championship.
Defeated Barrie Colts in 5 games to win the OHL Championship!
Lost to Victoriaville Tigers 5-4 (OT) in the Memorial Cup semi-finals.
- 2002-03 Out of playoffs.
- 2003-04 Defeated Sarnia Sting in 5 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
Swept by London Knights in Western Semi-Final.
- 2004-05 Lost to Kitchener Rangers in 6 games in Western Quarter-Finals.
- 2005-06 Out of playoffs.
- 2006-07 Out of playoffs.
- 2007-08 Out of playoffs.