Monday, March 19, 2012

Otters agree to two-year lease extension

Press Release

The Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League announced today that they have agreed in principle to a two-year lease extension with the Erie County Convention Center Authority (ECCCA) and have hired veteran sports executive John Frey as Director of Operations.

“We have met with (ECCCA Executive Director) Casey Wells and the appropriate people,” Otters General Manager Sherwood Bassin said. “We believe that we have an agreement in principle for the next two years. We are awaiting the appropriate paperwork.”

The Tullio Arena, which has housed the Otters since 1996, is in the midst of a $42-million renovation that will include new suites, seats, concession stands, restroom facilities, wider concourses and a new entryway.

Frey joins the Otters with over 25 years of experience in sports management. The native of Prescott, Wis. recently served as President and General Manager of the Erie SeaWolves for 11 years. Frey has also made stops in Greensboro, N.C., Midland, Tex., and Beloit, Wis.

An active member of the Erie community, Frey is President of the Millcreek Youth Athletic Association and was President of the McDowell High School baseball booster club for five years. The University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse graduate resides in Millcreek with his wife Kathy and has three children, Joseph, Mary and John Paul.

“I am very happy to be in Erie,” Frey said. “The Otters have been a big part of the community for many years and I’m excited to join the team.”

“We are excited to have John join our staff and lead our business operations,” Bassin said. “He was a long-time successful leader of the SeaWolves. We feel very fortunate that he was available to join our staff and lead the Otters into a new era.”

In a related move, Jaime Cieszynski was promoted to Assistant Director of Operations. A member of the Otters organization since 1998, Cieszynski has also served as Office Manager and Administrative Manager.

(Nathan can be reached at

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