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|League||Ontario Hockey League|
|Home arena||Erie Insurance Arena|
|Colors||Navy blue, gold, white |
|General manager||Dave Brown|
|Head coach||Chris Hartsburg|
|1953–1960||Hamilton Tiger Cubs|
|1960–1974||Hamilton Red Wings|
|1974–1978||Hamilton/St. Catharines Fincups|
|1988–1996||Niagara Falls Thunder|
The Erie Otters are a Major junior ice hockey team based in Erie, Pennsylvania. They are members of the Midwest division of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), one of only three American teams in the circuit. The "Otters" name refers to the North American otter (Lontra canadensis), a semiaquatic mammal common to Lake Erie.
The Erie Otters were previously located in Niagara Falls, Ontario, where they were called the Niagara Falls Thunder. They moved to Erie Insurance Arena in downtown Erie in time for the 1996–97 season. After three seasons of mediocrity in Erie, they won the Midwest Division's Holody Trophy in 1999. It was their first of three consecutive Midwest Division championships, culminating in a J. Ross Robertson Cup in the 2001–02 season. Additionally, Dave MacQueen won the Matt Leyden Trophy in 2000–01 as the OHL Coach of the Year. General manager Sherwood Bassin was awarded OHL Executive of the Year, and the CHL Executive of the Year for his role in building a championship team. The Erie Otters became the second U.S. team to win the OHL Championship, following the Detroit Junior Red Wings in the 1994–95 OHL season.
On March 18, 2017, the Erie Otters became the first team in Canadian Hockey League history to record four consecutive 50-win seasons in a row (2013–17). The Otters had previously shared the record of three consecutive 50-win seasons with the Kelowna Rockets (2012–15), Edmonton Oil Kings (2011–14), Saint John Sea Dogs (2009–12) and the Kamloops Blazers (1989–92).
On May 22, 2017, the Erie Otters set a Memorial Cup record for most goals by one team in a single game by defeating the Saint John Sea Dogs with a final score of 12–5, surpassing the previous record of 11 goals set by the Quebec Remparts (1974, 11–3) and Regina Pats (1980, 11–2). The game also set the record for most goals by both teams with a total of 17 goals, surpassing the record of 16 goals when the Kitchener Rangers defeated the Kamloop Jr. Oilers with a final score of 9–7 (1984). Dylan Strome set an individual record of 7 points in a single game (4 goals, 3 assists) surpassing the previous record of 6 points in a single game held by Joe Contini (1976), Guy Rouleau (1986), and Mike Mathers (1992). Taylor Raddysh also tied the previous record of 6 points (2 goals, 4 assists) in the same game.
Connor McDavid era (2012–15)
McDavid had been named "Player of the Year" for the 2011–12 season in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, following a record of 79 goals and 130 assists while playing as a 14/15 year old on a midget-level team. 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.
The Otters chose the 15-year-old as their first overall pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection Draft, and he joined the team for the 2012–13 season. McDavid garnered much attention, and was rated highly as he approached draft eligibility during his 2014–15 season with the Otters. He led the team to the J. Ross Robertson Cup championship finals, where the Otters fell to the Oshawa Generals.
Uniforms and logos
From their first season until the end of the 2016–17 season, the Erie Otters' colors were navy blue, gold, red, and white. Their primary logo featured a circular outline with a fierce, anthropomorphic otter furnishing a hockey stick and gear. The "Otters" wordmark is superimposed over the design in red with gold and navy blue outline. The team's home uniform included a navy blue sweater with red and gold accents. The away uniforms featured a white jersey with navy blue and red trim.
For the 2013–14 season, the Erie Otters introduced a gold alternate jersey. This jersey features a navy blue shoulder yoke, navy blue and white stripes, and the cursive "Otters" wordmark centered across the chest. The design resembles the sweaters of the defunct Erie Blades, who played from 1975 to 1982. In 2016, the Erie Otters began wearing the gold alternate jerseys for every Saturday home game throughout the regular season and also introduced gold helmets to the uniform set, rather than the blue helmets worn with the gold jersey in previous seasons.
For the 2017–18 season, the Erie Otters announced that the secondary cursive "Otters" watermark has become their new primary logo and the team is making a full-time switch to a gold, navy and white color set. With this change, the alternate gold jerseys have become the new primary home set, and a newly introduced white jersey (in the same style as the gold) has become the new away set.
On May 20, 2019, the Otters reintroduced the Otter logo, with some minor tweaks, as their new primary logo, as well as a new shoulder patch with new home and away jerseys.
The Erie Otters play their home games at Erie Insurance Arena, which opened in 1983 and currently seats 6,716 spectators. It is a centerpiece of the Erie Civic Center Complex, which also includes the UPMC Park baseball stadium, home to the Double-A Erie SeaWolves.
|J. Ross Robertson Cup||Wayne Gretzky Trophy||Hamilton Spectator Trophy||Holody Trophy|
|OHL Champions||Western Conference Champions||1st Place - Regular Season||Midwest Division Champions|
* indicates replacement mid-season.
|Regular Season||Playoffs||Memorial Cup|
|Coach||First Season||Last Season||GP||W||L||T||OTL||SOL||PTS||PCT%||GP||W||L||PCT%||GP||W||L||PCT%||Notes|
|Dale Dunbar||1996-97*||1997-98||93||45||36||9||3||0||102||.548||12||4||8||.333||-||-||-||-||Mid-season replacement for Johnstone during 1996-97 season.|
|Robbie Ftorek||2007-08*||2012-13*||353||139||174||0||16||13||307||.436||16||4||12||.250||-||-||-||-||Mid-season replacement for Sidorkiewicz during 2007-08 season.|
|Kris Knoblauch||2012-13*||2016-17||313||216||83||0||9||5||446||.712||69||46||23||.667||5||3||2||.600||Mid-season replacement for Ftorek during 2012-13 season.|
|Season||Coach||Award Won||Award For|
|2000-01||Dave MacQueen||Matt Leyden Trophy||Coach of the Year|
|2015-16||Kris Knoblauch||Matt Leyden Trophy||Coach of the Year|
- Nikita Alexeev
- Brady Austin
- Nick Baptiste
- Adam Berti
- Michael Blunden
- Brad Boyes
- Chris Breen
- David Broll
- Connor Brown
- Andre Burakovsky
- Chris Campoli
- Erik Cernak
- Anthony Cirelli
- Carlo Colaiacovo
- Tim Connolly
- Oscar Dansk
- Alex DeBrincat
- Travis Dermott
- Remi Elie
- Warren Foegele
- Brendan Gaunce
- Luke Gazdic
- Justin Hodgman
- Mike Liambas
- Brett MacLean
- Kurtis MacDermid
- Connor McDavid
- Greg McKegg
- Steve Montador
- Adam Munro
- Jordan Nolan
- Ryan O'Marra
- Ryan O'Reilly
- Nick Palmieri
- Jeff Paul
- Adam Pelech
- Anthony Peluso
- Geoff Platt
- Michael Rupp
- Dylan Strome
- Stephen Valiquette
- Phil Varone
- Jason Ward
- Jeff Zehr
NHL draft picks
A total of 37 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: Jason Ward (1997: 11th), Michael Rupp (1998: 9th), Tim Connolly (1999: 5th), Nikita Alexeev (2000: 8th), Brad Boyes (2000: 24th), Carlo Colaiacovo (2001: 17th) and Adam Munro (2001: 29th).
- Brad Boyes (#16)
- Vince Scott (#18)
Legend: OTL - Overtime Loss, SL - Shootout Loss, PTS - Points, GF - Goals For, GA - Goals Against, GD - Goal Differential
|1996–97||66||23||36||7||-||-||53||0.402||240||260||-20||5th Central||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|1997–98||66||33||28||5||-||-||71||0.538||261||252||+9||4th West||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|1998–99||68||31||33||4||-||-||66||0.485||271||297||-26||3rd Midwest||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|1999–00||68||33||28||4||3||-||73||0.515||224||229||-5||1st Midwest||Lost in Semifinals|
|2000–01||68||45||11||10||2||-||102||0.735||264||171||+93||1st Midwest||Lost in Conference Finals|
|2001–02||68||41||22||4||1||-||87||0.632||246||218||+28||1st Midwest||Won OHL Championship, Lost Memorial Cup|
|2002–03||68||24||35||6||3||-||57||0.397||181||248||-67||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2003–04||68||29||26||6||7||-||71||0.471||221||212||+9||5th Midwest||Lost in Semifinals|
|2004–05||68||31||26||6||5||-||73||0.500||186||207||-21||4th Midwest||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|2005–06||68||26||35||-||4||3||59||0.434||219||266||-47||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2006–07||68||15||50||-||1||2||33||0.243||209||378||-169||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2007–08||68||18||46||-||2||2||40||0.294||206||343||-137||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2008–09||68||34||29||-||3||2||73||0.537||208||254||-46||3rd Midwest||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|2009–10||68||33||28||-||5||2||73||0.537||257||259||-2||4th Midwest||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|2010–11||68||40||26||-||1||1||82||0.603||281||229||+52||3rd Midwest||Lost in Quarterfinals|
|2011–12||68||10||52||-||3||3||26||0.191||169||338||-169||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2012–13||68||19||40||-||4||5||47||0.346||206||312||-106||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2013–14||68||52||14||-||2||0||106||0.779||312||170||+142||2nd Midwest||Lost in Conference Finals|
|2014–15||68||50||14||-||2||2||104||0.765||331||212||+119||1st Midwest||Lost OHL Championship|
|2015–16||68||52||15||-||1||0||105||0.772||269||183||+86||1st Midwest||Lost in Conference Finals|
|2016–17||68||50||15||-||2||1||103||0.757||319||182||+137||1st Midwest||Won OHL Championship, Lost Memorial Cup|
|2017–18||68||23||35||-||7||3||56||0.412||220||270||-50||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2018–19||68||26||38||-||3||1||56||0.412||230||300||-70||5th Midwest||Missed Playoffs|
|2019–20||63||26||26||-||4||7||63||0.500||229||236||-7||5th Midwest||Playoffs Cancelled|
|Conference Quarterfinals||Conference Semifinals||Conference Finals||OHL Championship|
|1999-00||>||Won||Brampton Battalion||4-2||>||Lost||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||4-3|
|2000-01||>||Won||London Knights||4-1||>||Won||Brampton Battalion||4-1||>||Lost||Plymouth Whalers||4-1|
|2001-02||>||Won||Sarnia Sting||4-1||>||Won||London Knights||4-2||>||Won||Windsor Spitfires||4-1||>||Won||Barrie Colts||4-1|
|2002-03||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|2003-04||>||Won||Sarnia Sting||4-1||>||Lost||London Knights||4-0|
|2005-06||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|2006-07||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|2007-08||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|2011-12||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|2012-13||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|2013-14||>||Won||Saginaw Spirit||4-1||>||Won||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||4-0||>||Lost||Guelph Storm||4-1|
|2014-15||>||Won||Sarnia Sting||4-1||>||Won||London Knights||4-0||>||Won||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||4-2||>||Lost||Oshawa Generals||4-1|
|2015-16||>||Won||Saginaw Spirit||4-0||>||Won||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||4-1||>||Lost||London Knights||4-0|
|2016-17||>||Won||Sarnia Sting||4-0||>||Won||London Knights||4-3||>||Won||Owen Sound Attack||4-2||>||Won||Mississauga Steelheads||4-1|
|2017-18||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|2018-19||Out of playoffs. Did not qualify.|
|Round Robin Game 1||Round Robin Game 2||Round Robin Game 3||Semi-Final||Final|
|2002||Lost||Kootenay Ice||3-0||Won||Victoriaville Tigres||5-1||Won||Guelph Storm||4-0||Lost||Victoriaville Tigres||5-4 OT|
|2017||Won||Seattle Thunderbirds||4-2||Won||Saint John Sea Dogs||12-5||Lost||Windsor Spitfires||4-2||Won||Saint John Sea Dogs||6-3||Lost||Windsor Spitfires||4-3|
- "OHL Awards". Ontario Hockey League. Canadian Hockey League. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
- "CHL Awards". chl.ca. Canadian Hockey League. Retrieved 2017-12-24.
- "LECOM becomes official medical provider..." Otters Hockey.com. Retrieved October 6, 2012.
- "Otters make CHL history, claim second straight Hamilton Spectator Trophy – Ontario Hockey League". ontariohockeyleague.com. Retrieved 2017-03-20.
- "Otters rewrite the record books in 12-5 win – Mastercard Memorial Cup". mastercardmemorialcup.ca. Retrieved 2017-05-24.
- "Connor McDavid granted exceptional status, now eligible for OHL draft". National Post. March 21, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-03-22.
- NHL Central Scouting's 2015 final rankings, National Hockey League, April 8, 2015
- Strang, Katie. "Highly touted prospect Connor McDavid goes No. 1 overall to Oilers". ESPN.com. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Creamer, Chris. "New Otters Jersey Evokes Memories of the Blades". SportsLogos.net Blog. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
- "Otters Unveil New Color Scheme and Jersey". OttersHockey.com. Retrieved August 20, 2017.