Meeting Delayed OHL Erie Otters

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Meeting delayed OHL Erie Otters

A meeting between the owner of the Erie Otters and the Pennsylvania city it calls home to discuss extending the team’s lease has been postponed.

Casey Wells, the executive director of the Erie County Convention Center Authority says team owner Sherry Bassin asked for a delay on Wednesday because he had come down with a bad cold. The meeting has tentatively been set for this afternoon, if Bassin is healthy enough to attend.

The meeting could be a key indicator in determining whether an Ontario Hockey League team might be playing out of Hamilton next season. Numerous sources have identified that team as the Otters.

Six months ago, Bassin asked the ECCCA for paperwork to extend his lease at the Tullio Arena for another season. His request was for all the same terms and conditions under which he’s been operating until now. Wells agreed to that and gave him the documents to be signed which would lock up the team for the 2012-13 season at least.

The papers have still not been returned.

Until now, many in Erie believed the delay had something to do with the team waiting to see if a promised $42-million refurbishment and expansion of the arena would actually go ahead. Complications had delayed it. That project is now underway.

Meanwhile, in Hamilton the council continues to wait on a staff report outlining the desire of an unknown owner to bring an OHL team to town to play out of Dave Andreychuk Mountain Arena and then, eventually, Copps Coliseum. The report’s release has twice been delayed at the request of the prospective owner in order that a number of moving pieces can be nailed down before submitting it for public discussion and a vote.

If council were to support the concept, the Hamilton Red Wings would get bounced out of the Mountain Arena and given a new home at the Morgan Firestone Arena in Ancaster. To compensate for the ice time they’d use that would be lost to minor hockey teams, $350,000-$400,000 would have to be spent to upgrade the dressing rooms and washrooms at Spring Valley Arena, also in Ancaster.

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