Friday, February 06, 2015

Save Our Otters with Hashtag #YouOtterStayHere

First, I would like to thank all of the Erie Community and bloggers who have already taken up the struggle to maintain the Otters team. I've told my audience a number of times just how much the city of Erie has been my home away from home. But now, as a hockey fan, I am to hold back the tide along with the thousands of Erie and junior hockey fans. I am keeping a close eye on the Otters situation and have seen them during their peak at their OHL Cup run of '02, to their lows of seasons with many losses, to the memories of the Pucks on Presque Isle event, to the current run with a great group of superstar development.

It would make the most sense of the Erie Community to come together and support this effort because they had just re-built up the Tullio Arena and found a great local sponsor in the Erie Insurance Company. Without the Otters as a lease tenant, the building will be risking financial troubles to pay back all of the renovation costs. True, the EIA does have the BayHawks and Explosion to fall back on, but the Otters are the more historic franchise and more likely has the main lease status.

The Erie Otters have also been a very cooperative part of the Erie SeaWolves. As I was an eye witness to the next-to-last season game they were in attendance at Jerry Uht Park. Since the first couple of NHL stars that the Erie Otters have developed, it's proof that the community should support a franchise that has paid off with those same players playing at the next professional level. What future players will see their number in the rafters or between the luxury boxes at EIA. Boyes, Rupp, Colaiacovo, to Brown, McKegg, et al to the sure #1 overall pick McDavid, we are all seeing the fruits of the Erie community.

What is frustrating enough is that the underlining situation can be pulled out from under the Erie community like a tablecloth at a dinner table. The ongoing legal battles with the current ownership has put the team in a delicate position. Lets all hope that Mr. Sherry Bassin can do the right thing and find other alternative owners that can keep the team in Erie who are also willing to pay a little more than top price. I'd step in, but I'd have to win the lottery first.

But the effort to get out the word is not without it's deepest challenges. Erie is a economically depressed region with the infrastructure going crumbling and unused. The stores that I used to go to with my family are no longer there, the dive bars I visited when my fellow college students up there aren't around, the beaches of Lake Erie have struggled as far as tourist attractions go.

If you are reading this.. then take up our struggle. There is plenty more hockey to be played. You can keep track of the team's progress at their rally Facebook page as well as using the twitter hashtag #YouOtterStayHere.
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