|League:||Ontario Hockey League|
|Home Arena:||Louis J. Tullio Arena|
|Colours:||Navy blue, red, yellow and gold |
|Head Coach:||Kris Knoblauch|
|General Manager:||Dave Brown|
|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 (OHL). Based in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA, they have played their home games at the Louis J. Tullio Arena since 1996. The Otters are the only Pennsylvania-based team in the OHL and one of only three United States-based teams in the league.
The Niagara Falls Thunder relocated from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Erie in 1996, becoming the Erie Otters. The team takes its name from the otter, a water creature common to the south shore of Lake Erie.
The Otters' ownership partners are Ron Sertz, Jeff Fatica, and Ray Irwin. Sherwood Bassin is the general manager and a managing partner of the team. Walt Wingfield serves as head scout.
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 for the Otters, culminating in an OHL Championship in 2001–02. 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.
The Erie Otters celebrated their 10th anniversary in the 2005–06 season.
2001–02 OHL Champions
In the 2001–02 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, Michal Kokavec, Brian Lee, Thomas Lee, Chris Martin, Mike McKeown, Adam Munro, Cory Pecker, Mike Rice, Dave MacQueen (coach), Sherwood Bassin (GM)
- J. Ross Robertson Cup (OHL Champions)
- Wayne Gretzky Trophy (Western Conference Champions)
2001–2002, 2014-2015, 2016-2017
- Hamilton Spectator Trophy (1st place regular season)
2000–2001 (102 points), 2015-16 (105 points), 2016-17 (103 points)
- Holody Trophy (Midwest Division Champions)
1999–2000, 2000–2001, 2001–2002, 2016-2017
Multiple years in parentheses
- 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)
- 2007–2012 Robbie Ftorek (4)
- 2012-present Kris Knoblauch
A total of 21 players have been selected at the National Hockey League Entry Draft since the franchise relocated to Erie, including a five-year stretch from 1997–2001 in which seven members of the team were selected in the first round: (1997 Jason Ward, 11th, Montreal Canadiens; 1998 Michael Rupp, ninth, New York Islanders; 1999 Tim Connolly, fifth, New York Islanders; 2000 Nikita Alexeev, eighth, Tampa Bay Lightning; Brad Boyes, 24th, Toronto Maple Leafs; 2001 Carlo Colaiacovo, 17th, Toronto Maple Leafs; and Adam Munro, 29th, Chicago Blackhawks).
- 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)
- 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)
|Team records for a single season|
|Most goals for||331||2014-15|
|Least goals for||169||2011-12|
|Least goals against||170||2013-14|
|Most goals against||378||2006–07|
|Individual player records for a single season|
|Most goals||Dane Fox||64||2013-14|
|Most assists||Dylan Strome||84||2014-15|
|Most points||Dylan Strome||129||2014-15|
|Most points, rookie||Alex DeBrincat||104||2014-15|
|Most points, defenceman||Chris Campoli||66||2003–04|
|Best GAA (goalie)||Adam Munro||2.31||2000–01|
|Goalies = minimum 1500 minutes played|
Legend: OL - Overtime Loss, SL - Shootout Loss, PTS - Points, GF - Goals For, GA - Goals Against
- 1996–97 Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 1 in division quarter-finals.
- 1997–98 Lost to London Knights 4 games to 3 in division quarter-finals.
- 1998–99 Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
- 1999–00 Defeated Brampton Battalion 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
Lost to S.S. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 3 in conference semi-finals.
- 2000–01 Defeated London Knights 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
Defeated Brampton Battalion 4 games to 1 in conference semi-finals.
Lost to Plymouth Whalers 4 games to 1 in conference finals.
- 2001–02 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
Defeated London Knights 4 games to 2 in conference semi-finals.
Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 1 in conference finals.
Defeated Barrie Colts 4 games to 1 in finals. OHL CHAMPIONS
Lost to Victoriaville Tigres 5-4 (OT) in the Memorial Cup semi-finals.
- 2002–03 Out of playoffs.
- 2003–04 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
- 2004–05 Lost to Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
- 2005–06 Out of playoffs.
- 2006–07 Out of playoffs.
- 2007–08 Out of playoffs.
- 2008–09 Lost to London Knights 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
- 2009–10 Lost to Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
- 2010–11 Lost to Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 3 in conference quarter-finals.
- 2011–12 Out of playoffs.
- 2012–13 Out of playoffs.
- 2013-14 Defeated Saginaw Spirit 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
Lost to Guelph Storm 4 games to 1 in conference finals.
- 2014-15 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to 1 in conference quarter-finals.
Defeated London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference semi-finals.
Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 2 in conference finals.
Lost to Oshawa Generals 4 games to 1 in finals.
- 2015-16 Defeated Saginaw Spirit 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
Defeated Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 1 in conference semi-finals.
Lost to London Knights 4 games to 0 in conference finals.
- 2016-17 Defeated Sarnia Sting 4 games to none in conference quarter-finals.
Defeated London Knights 4 games to 3 in conference semi-finals.
Defeated Owen Sound Attack 4 games to 2 in conference final.
Defeated Mississauga Steelheads 4 games to 1 in final OHL Champions
- 2017 Memorial Cup Defeated Seattle Thunderbirds 4-2;
defeated Saint John Sea Dogs 12-5;
lost to Windsor Spitfires 4-2 in round robin.
Defeated Saint John Sea Dogs 6-3 in semifinal
Lost to Windsor Spitfires 4-3 in Memorial Cup Championship game
- 2017-18 Out of playoffs.
- 2018-19 Out of playoffs.
Uniforms and logos
The team mascot is an anthropomorphic otter named Shooter, who wears a home jersey. The Otters home uniforms have a navy blue background; the road uniforms have a white background. Both have red, yellow and gold trim. The logo is an angry otter with a hockey stick. The team changes their color after the annual christmas break in the league. It is a league wide tradition teams go from wearing their home whites to their home colors.
For the 2005–06 season (the team's 10th/Diamond Anniversary), the Otters unveiled a third jersey as part of the "Make Other Teams Bleed" campaign. The jersey has a red background with navy blue, white and gold trim. The third logo has "Erie" in big letters across the chest with "Otters" written beneath it.
The Erie Otters play home games at the Louis J. Tullio Arena located in downtown Erie, Pennsylvania. The arena was built in 1983 and seats 5,500 spectators. The Tullio arena is one of the loudest in the league and works well for home ice advantage. The arena is part of the Erie Civic Center Complex, which includes Jerry Uht Park—a baseball stadium and home to the AA Erie SeaWolves.
- Louis J. Tullio Arena The OHL Arena & Travel Guide.