It appears the Erie Otters finally have a place to begin preparing for the 2012-13 OHL season.
A source speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed today that the Otters will hold training camp at Morgan Firestone Arena in Ancaster, Ontario. The source said Sherry Bassin, Otters managing partner and general manager, will make the official announcement Thursday.
The source said the Otters will finish camp by playing their preseason opener Aug. 31 at Firestone Arena. They face Niagara in a 7 p.m. game.
The Otters cannot have their annual week-long camp at Erie Insurance Arena because of ongoing renovations at the downtown facility. The Otters held camp in Erie or Jamestown, N.Y., for the first 16 years of the franchise’s history. Bassin also considered the Ontario towns of Fort Erie and Newmarket, the source said, but ice availability in Ancaster was a key factor in Bassin’s decision. Players report to camp Aug. 27.
Bassin declined to comment Wednesday about the location for training camp. He spent the past few days in Lake Placid, N.Y., watching goaltender Oscar Dansk, the Otters’ first-round pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, play for his native Sweden’s junior national team at USA Hockey’s National Junior Evaluation Camp. The camp began this past Saturday and continues through this coming Saturday.
“We’re very impressed,” said Bassin, who was joined by Dave Brown, Otters assistant manager of hockey operations.
Bassin declined to comment further on Dansk, who remains unsigned. But a source said Bassin has been in contact with Dansk’s agent, Peter Wallen, of Alterno Management AB, Sports & Entertainment in Sweden. Bassin and Brown planned on leaving Lake Placid Wednesday to continue negotiations with other draft picks. “When we get back, we’re going to get that done,” Bassin said.
UPDATE: The Otters have scheduled a news conference for Thursday at 11a.m. at Firestone Arena. Bassin and Brown will be in attendance. Details for training camp and sites for exhibition games will be announced.
- Victor Fernandes