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Erie Otters On The Move?

Rumors have been swirling for years that the Erie Otters of the OHL would be on the move.  The most recent rumor had the Otters moving to Hamilton and displacing the AHL’s Bulldogs.  With the Bulldogs signing a new lease that extends their tenancy until the spring of 2016 when their new arena in Laval is ready, the Bulldogs are still looking.

Recently there has been speculation that they may look to Elmira New York to replace the ECHL’s Jackals, or another location in Canada.

The Otters have a lease in Erie which runs through the end of the 2013-2014 season.  Sources in Erie are saying that it would take a tremendous offer to get Owner Sherry Bassin to break that lease and try a move next season. 

Some sources in Erie are now mentioning Glenns Falls New York as a destination for the 2014-2015 season.  Recently though, some have been mentioning Brantford Ontario’s Civic Centre as a possible destination.  The 45 year old, 3000 seat arean has a lot of hockey history within its walls.

While the Brantford Civic Centre is smaller than the Erie Insurance Arena, the Otters average attendance is less than 3000 per night, which would be a “sell out” in Brantford, while is less than half capacity of Erie.

Brantford also recently lost a bid to secure and OJHL franchise and there is a desire for hockey.  Brantford is an hour away from Brampton and those OHL fans in Brampton may travel to support a new team.  It is less than an hour from Kitchener which could create a great rivalry.

Brantford also has an OHL history having been home to the Alexanders from 1978 to 1984.  The team was named after Brantfords then most famous former resident Alexander Graham Bell.  The City of Brantford would surely support a team of ninety niners wouldnt they?

While it appears likely that the Otters will eventually leave Erie, the question is where to, and when?  Is Brantford or another city willing to make a deal to make a move happen sooner than next year?  This story is sure to play out over ensuing months as the Otters enter the last year of their lease in Erie.

TJHN will update this story as more information becomes available.

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