The saga that has been the Erie Otters appears to be entering its final phase. For years, the OHL franchise has been mired in both controversy and debt.
Franchise Owner Sherry Bassin certainly didn’t improve the franchise’s potential for surviving in Erie when borrowing money against the franchises value while potentially selling. That loan from Edmonton Oilers Owner Daryl Katz is now part of the Bankruptcy proceedings.
Even with Connor McDavid and a plethora of young stars set to enter the NHL, it looks as though the Otters have been beyond saving in Erie for a long time.
Ed Palattella from the Erie Times reported the following;
“This will have absolutely no effect on Otters playoff games, on our staff, on our players, or any of our hockey or business operations,” Bassin said. “The Erie Otters Hockey Club has a strong and fundamentally sound underlying business. The team, the Ontario Hockey League and our corporate partners will be fully protected during this process.”
“Today’s filing provides us with the opportunity to continue to execute our business plan on a stronger footing, maintain normal operations of the hockey club as it fights toward an OHL championship, and smoothly continue the ongoing sale process. All of our efforts are focused on concluding this process in an efficient and successful manner.”
The bankruptcy stays any action by the Oilers to force a sale of the team to recover what the Oilers claim were $4.6 million in loans that team made to the Otters in exchange for a deal to buy the Otters from Bassin. The deal collapsed, leading the Oilers to sue in [U.S.] federal court.
A judge in U.S. District Court in Erie dismissed that suit in December, but the Otters today said the Oilers, through a subsidiary, the Ontario Major Junior Hockey Corp., or OMJHC, announced it planned to conduct a “private sale” of the assets of Erie Hockey Club today under the Uniform Commercial Code of Pennsylvania. (Erie Times-News)