Erie Otters return for the OHL season


Matt Mead

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Megan Mckay, Contributing writer

The Erie Otters are back in action on Friday, Oct. 7. The Otters are hoping to turn things around this season after a difficult past couple of years in the win column. The team is looking to become a contender in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) standings as they’ve dominated in the past.

In 2016, the team swept the championships winning the Midwest division Holody trophy, the regular season Hamilton trophy, the conference Gretzky trophy and the Robertson cup becoming OHL Champions. The Otters have notably produced National Hockey League stars like Anthony Cirelli of the Tampa Bay Lighting, Alex De-Brincat of the Ottawa Senators, Ryan O’Reilly of the St. Louis Blue and first overall pick Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers.

Last season, the Otters finished second to last in the Western Conference standings finish-ing 24-37-2. Despite struggling to progress in the standings, the team was led by Daniel D’Amato who recorded 63 points, Elias Cohen 61 points and Christian Kyrou 60 points. With star forwards the Otters’ have the manpower to create a lot of offense. On the back end, Kyrou is a star defenseman also making a return to Erie this season.

The team is looking to turn things around as they are led by a solid group of returners who are crucial producers on the offense with the addition of four rookies. The addition of the rookies this season came from General Manager Dave Brown’s 16 selections from the OHL draft this past April.

Erie had the second overall pick in the draft and selected Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL) Player of the Year and Forward Malcolm Spence from the Mississauga Senators U16 AAA. Spence had two-points-per game on average last season with 56 points in 18 games and was named to the OHL Cup All-Star Team. Spence told the organization after being selected,

“I’m excited to play for the amazing fans in Erie, and how historic the organization is—to play and wear that jersey is truly an honor. It’s a dream come true.”

Spence will be wearing number 17 and became the fourth GTHL Player of the Year to be selected by Erie alongside Jamie Drysdale (Ducks), Dylan Strome (Capitals), and Connor McDavid (Oilers). GM Dave Brown described Spence saying,

“He plays a pro-style game, and we’re just super excited to have him—not only his skill level, but his maturity and leadership that he brings off the ice.”

The Otters are also excited to welcome rookie forwards Dylan Edwards (150th overall 2021), Alex Messier (free agent 2022) and rookie defenseman George Alboim (70th overall 2021).The team looks to build off a successful series of pre-season games recording three wins and only one loss. The Otters’ hit the road for the first game of the 2022-23 season against the Peterborough Petes where they fell 4-5 in a shootout.

The following day, they faced off against the Kingston Frontenacs falling 1-3. Sunday they finished their road series against the Mississauga Steelheads. The Otters’ away series was the first time since 2019 the team traveled to battle the other 19 teams of the OHL as the pandemic era limited travel to mostly in-conference.

The Otters are back home this weekend for their home opener against their top rivals, the London Knights. Catch the Otters in action Saturday, Oct. 7, for an exciting weekend at Erie Insurance Arena.

It will be an all-day party at the Erie Insurance Arena as the Otters’ inaugural Fan Festival kicks off at 3 p.m. The Fest will be an affair you will not want to miss out on. There will be live music from three rising country music stars, face painting, caricatures, balloon artists, adult beverages and delicious food trucks. After the fun and games stick around as doors open at 6 p.m. and puck drops at 7 p.m.

For fans not able to attend the game you can broadcast the game from “OHL Live’s” home on CHL tv or from the Otters Radio Network or iHeart Media Erie. Purchase tickets online for this weekend’s home opener vs the London Knights at or at Erie Insurance Arena at the box office. Tickets are currently around $16 for a night of a competitive and packed experience. For additional help you can call (814) 452-4857. Cheer on your Erie Otters this weekend as hockey season gets underway.