Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

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Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby lacubs » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:21 pm

Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise
By VICTOR FERNANDES, Erie Times-News
victor.fernandes@timesnews.com

The Erie Otters could begin the 2014-15 Ontario Hockey League season with new ownership.

Sherry Bassin, who has served as managing partner and general manager since the inaugural 1996-97 season, confirmed Thursday that he is negotiating with two groups, including an Erie-based group, interested in purchasing the franchise.

Bassin, 75, said an agreement to sell the franchise, which could be reached in the next two to three weeks, would solidify the future of a franchise that has signed a new five-year arena lease with the Erie County Convention Center Authority. That lease would keep the Otters playing in newly renovated Erie Insurance Arena through the 2018-19 season.

Bassin said both groups want him to remain with the franchise in roles such as minority owner, governor and general manager.

"They want me to lead. They want me to run the franchise," said Bassin, who has publicly expressed his interest in selling the franchise in recent years. "Everybody I've talked to (knows) if Sherry Bassin is going to be part of (the franchise), he's not moving the team.

"My position was that I would never move the team. I don't want it to move."

Bassin, who declined to disclose names within the groups, said the Erie-based group wants "to make it work here."

The second group, which Bassin said consists of investors from the U.S. and Ontario, "have made no overtures to me that they wouldn't" keep the franchise in Erie. Convention Center Authority Executive Director Casey Wells didn't immediately return a telephone message Thursday requesting comment.

Neither group has emerged as a front-runner, Bassin said.

"I think we can (have) some real serious positions taken in the next week or two," he said. "I feel very good about it. I feel very good about the people I'm talking to."

The Otters, which will begin their 19th season in Erie on Sept. 24 against the Saginaw Spirit in Saginaw, Mich., and play their home opener Oct. 4 against the Sarnia Sting, are coming off one of the best seasons in their history.

They set the franchise's attendance record of 150,558 fans -- or 4,429 per game -- on the way to setting a franchise mark with 52 regular-season wins. The Otters, who reached the OHL's Western Conference finals for the first time since winning their lone league championship in the 2001-02 season, played in front of four sellout crowds in the regular season. They set the single-game mark of 6,750 fans on Nov. 23 against the Sudbury Wolves.

The Otters topped the 6,000 mark six times, and attracted at least 4,000 fans to 20 of their 34 regular-season home games.

In contrast, the Otters set franchise lows in attendance (2,885 fans per game) and wins (10) in the 2011-12 season, and improved only slightly in the 2012-13 season (3,115 fans per game and 19 wins). In that time, reports began to surface about the Otters' potential move to Hamilton, Ontario. The franchise also was linked to Ontario's Chatham-Kent region.

So Bassin said Otters fans "would be excited" about a potential sale that would keep the team in Erie.

"They should be (excited). That's our whole purpose with everybody," Bassin said. "I'm excited."

VICTOR FERNANDES can be reached at 870-1716 or by e-mail. Follow him at www.twitter.com/GoErieHockey. Check out the Otters page at www.GoErie.com/otters. Read the Shootout hockey blog at GoErie.com/blogs/shootout and post comments.
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Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby Duke Guy » Thu Oct 16, 2014 1:34 pm

Does anyone have an update on the "near sale"?
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby Hammer » Sun Oct 19, 2014 9:36 am

Duke Guy wrote:Does anyone have an update on the "near sale"?


Have not heard or read anything lately.
@GoErieHockey does Bassin know that he can make deals prior to 5 minutes before the deadline, for humans not just picks?
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby Duke Guy » Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:54 pm

Does this original article tie in with the events of today?
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby MisterDB » Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:11 pm

A key chain is a wonderful device in which it allows you to misplace every key you own at the same time.
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise update 11/29

Postby puckk » Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:48 pm

The Edmonton Oilers have moved closer to forcing the sale of the Erie Otters to recover a $4.5 million debt.


The National Hockey League franchise on Friday filed a document in U.S. District Court in Erie that allows it to start collection procedures against Otters owner Sherry Bassin and his Bassin Hockey Inc.


The document, called a writ of execution, calls for the U.S. Marshals Service "to levy and sell all property owned by Defendant Bassin Hockey Inc.," including the Otters, the Ontario League Hockey franchise that Bassin relocated to Erie from Niagara Falls, Ontario, in 1996.


The U.S. Marshals Service would sell the team at auction in the equivalent of a sheriff sale.


A sale could put the status of the Otters in Erie in doubt. A subsidiary of the Oilers, Ontario Major Junior Hockey Corp., in 2011 arranged to buy the Otters from Bassin and move the team to Hamilton, Ontario.


The collapse of that deal, in which the Oilers advanced Bassin $4.5 million, prompted Ontario Major Junior Hockey Corp. to sue Bassin over the debt in U.S. District Court in Erie on Nov. 11. Through its subsidiary, the Oilers on Nov. 13 got a $4.5 million judgment against Bassin, which allowed the Oilers to pursue a writ of execution.


Bassin has declined to comment on the case and has referred questions to his lawyers, who have declined to comment.


To halt the forced sale of the team, Bassin would have to come up with $4.5 million; sell the team on his own, and repay the Oilers; or file for bankruptcy, which would stay the forced sale of the team.


Bassin could also try to challenge the writ of execution in court, but such fights are rarely successful. In Bassin's case, the agreement he signed to get the $4.5 million empowered the Oilers to sue him if he failed to repay the debt.


Bassin, 75, needed the $4.5 million from the Oilers to pay debts and address the Otters' financial problems, raising questions about how much money he would have available now.


The Oilers advanced Bassin the money to fund the operations of the Otters until a sale, and the Oilers were to pay Bassin another $2.75 million once the sale was finalized, for a total of $6.75 million, according to court records. With the collapse of the deal, Bassin never received the $2.75 million.


Bassin, who lives in Ontario, in March signed a five-year lease that keeps the Otters in Erie, where they play at Erie Insurance Arena, through the 2018-19 season.


The Otters would have to pay the Erie County Convention Center Authority $50,000 to $76,000 to break the lease.


Bassin has said he wants the Otters to stay in Erie. In a November 2011 interview, however, he said whether the Otters remain in Erie partly "depends if I'm the owner."


Bassin never publicly confirmed he signed the Oilers deal, which is dated Dec. 29, 2011. It was filed with the suit over the $4.5 million.
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise update 11/29

Postby Jason Cormier » Tue Dec 02, 2014 9:29 am

puckk wrote:The Otters would have to pay the Erie County Convention Center Authority $50,000 to $76,000 to break the lease.


I'm surprised the county negotiated such a small penalty, considering the potential sale value of the team and the cost of the arena renovations.
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby Eagle Vision » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:24 pm

Jason,


Throughout the rennovation process craddle to grave the city of Erie has been extremely clear in their intent to rennovate the Tuilio (name at the time) with the attitude that they do NOT care whether the Otters remain in Erie or not. Some of the reports out of Erie 2 years back did everything but state that the aging arena would be rennovated on the assumption that the Otters would be jumping ship (the Otters remaining as a major tennant would be more of a bonus or feather in the cap) for the project and arena.

The way in which planners answered questions about the Arena rennovations and future of the Otters did nothing short of fanning the flames in terms of speculation that the Otters' future in Erie may be short-lived at the time.
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby Jason Cormier » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:37 pm

So then renovate to what purpose? No arena would see that kind of upgrade simply to attract concerts, conventions and D-League basketball.
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Re: Otters' Bassin nearing sale of franchise

Postby Eagle Vision » Tue Dec 09, 2014 5:04 pm

Jason Cormier wrote:So then renovate to what purpose? No arena would see that kind of upgrade simply to attract concerts, conventions and D-League basketball.


They're trying to pitch the whole, theatre, ballpark, Arena as a prime entertainment district.

It's entirely possible that city council will want to keep their jobs if the Otters were to leave as well (you look pretty stupid investing that much money into the arena to "save the Otters" when they end up leaving).

I would suggest that original arena construction was designed for pretty much what you are stating. EHL hockey pretty much amounts to D-League basketball or lower, plus concerts. However it's spun, if you read the articles at the time that they had decided to do that, there's one theme. The Otters are a bonus . . . if they stick around.

Keep in mind the time frame, people may have just been trying to save face.
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