Erie Otters Fire Head Coach Chris Hartsburg

The Erie Otters on Thursday have fired head coach Chris Hartsburg after 3+ seasons with the team. Associate coach B.J. Adams will take over the head coaching duties.

OHL, Erie Otters, Chris Hartsburg
Associate coach B.J. Adams will take over head coaching duties for the Erie Otters. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The move comes before the Otters play Friday night in Guelph before coming home Saturday to take on their rival the London Knights.

The Otters are off to a 3-7-1 start to their season and are in last place in the OHL standings thanks in large part to injuries to key players. Starting goalie Aidan Campbell had surgery is is out indefinitely. Defensemen Ryan Thompson and Artyom Kulakov are each considered week-to-week with injuries. They’ve also spent time without Connor Lockhart and Colby Saganiuk due to injuries. Co-captain Daniel D’Amato was called up to AHL Henderson to play and isn’t expected to play this weekend for the Otters.

Hartsburg was hired in June 2017 to replace Kris Knoblauch after the Otters won the OHL championship. He came in at a time when the team and their cupboard was mostly depleted.

Hartsburg finishes with an overall record of 78-106-15-11 in 210 games coached with the Otters. He signed a two-year extension with the Otters prior to what would have been the start of the 2020-21 season.

This is a developing story. We will update this as more information becomes available including reaction from the team.

Update: Adams is the full-time head coach, not interim. Here is GM Dave Brown on Adams: “B.J. has been a staple of our Hockey Operations Department for the last six seasons, and we’re thrilled to promote him to the Head Coaching role. Coach Adams has showcased great pride, dedication, and patience in this organization, and we have full confidence in him as our Head Coach. He’s been part of the highest highs with the team, and we trust in his abilities to get our team back to the top.”

Here’s Adams on taking the Otters’ job: “I’d like to start by thanking [Owner] Jim Waters and [General Manager] Dave Brown for entrusting me with the opportunity to lead this team. I’ve been proud and humbled to be part of such a great organization for the last six seasons, and I’m looking forward to leading and developing our group of young men on and off the ice.” 

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