Erie Otters Name Team Captains for 2023-24 Season
Erie, Pennsylvania – The first game of the season awaits the Erie Otters on Friday evening, awaiting the start of regular season action against the Mississauga Steelheads. While a number of fresh faces adorn the Otters’ lineup, familiar fellows and veteran players will be able to bridge the gap between old and new. Following Thursday afternoon’s practice, Otters general manager Dave Brown alongside the organization’s hockey operations staff announced the newly lettered leaders of the team. Otters legend and NHL superstar Connor McDavid provided a video to announce the names and letters for the captains.
“Organizationally we have a steeped tradition of greatness when it comes to leadership.” said Brown, “I’m excited to see this group follow in the footsteps of those who previously led this organization.”
Third-year defenseman Spencer Sova will wear the Captain’s “C” for the Erie Otters for the first time in his Ontario Hockey League career. Wearing a letter full-time alongside him is Alternate Captain Carey Terrance, entering his third season in Erie. Sharing alternate captain duties throughout the season will be overagers Brett Bressette (Home) and Owain Johnston (Away), as well as second-year Otters Malcolm Spence (Home) and Pano Fimis (Away).
SPENCER SOVA – CAPTAIN
Tenacity, skill, confidence, and an ability to keep calm in strenuous situations. The third-year OHLer from Windsor, ON has been recognized with the highest honor a teammate can receive in being named Captain.
Selected #8 overall in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Sova’s two-way ability as a smooth-skating, puck-carrying offensive defenseman has made him a 200-foot threat. Coming into his second season in Erie, the 19-year-old defenseman spent the early offseason with Hockey Canada’s National Men’s Under-18 Team for 2022 IIHF U18 World Championship.
Named an alternate captain for Erie at season’s start, Sova would go on to lead all Otter defensemen with 39 points (16G+23A) behind an ironman 68 game season. Moreover, Sova would be recognized as a top 10 goal-scoring defenseman in OHL, top 30 total-scoring defenseman in OHL in 2022-23 season, and be named the Best Skater in the OHL’s Western Conference in the end-of-season Coaches Poll.
Sova has spent the last two offseason as an invitee to Development Camps for the Buffalo Sabres (’22) and Toronto Maple Leafs (’23), and is currently with the Maple Leafs during their preseason. Sova was able to be part of the announcement via Facetime.
The 19-year-old Sova carries the legacy of a defenseman-turned-Captain over from Otters alumni Cameron Morton of last season.
CAREY TERRANCE – ALTERNATE CAPTAIN
An ever-rising talent on the offensive side of the ice, it is the humility and work of Terrance that has earned him high recognition.
The #10 overall pick in the 2021 OHL Priority Selection Draft, Carey Terrance was highly-regarded as a skilled, pro-style skater heading into the Ontario Hockey League. Now with two full seasons in the OHL under his belt – including last season as an Otters’ alternate captain – Terrance showcased himself as a crafty, playmaking, game-changing forward with a high ceiling. First in team-scoring at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, the alternate captain Terrance tripled his season-over-season goal total by finishing with 30 goals (47 TP) in 67 games played. Terrance’s season off the ice was highlighted by a second-place finish in the naming of Bobby Smith Trophy, awarded to the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year.
Hearing his name called early on Day 2 of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, Terrance’s excitement to join the Anaheim Ducks was the first major step of a lifelong dream of playing at hockey’s highest level. Moreover, the selection represented his entire home community of Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne – with the territory holding a widely-attended watch party for Terrance’s anticipated pick. With great pride in his heritage, Terrance hopes to be the second Mohawk actively playing in the NHL in the near future.
The 18-year-old Terrance’s continued maturity and leadership will be critical in the team’s success this season – especially after returning from Anaheim earlier this week.
BRETT BRESSETTE – ALTERNATE CAPTAIN
An overage forward for Erie, Brett Bressette became a rallying point for the team halfway through the 2022-23 season after a terrible injury prematurely ended his point-plus-per-game season. Now heading into his final season of Major Junior hockey with already plenty to prove, the Midland, ON native will have the opportunity to serve as a leader for the first time in his Otters career.
Bressette’s veteran status and preeminent skill as a two-way player with an offensive threat ability will be a major part of Erie’s success for the new year.
OWAIN JOHNSTON – ALTERNATE CAPTAIN
Erie’s second defenseman serving as a leader of the Otters, overager Owain Johnston is a rugged and tenacious defenseman with a fearless approach to the game.
Even as a rookie, the Toronto native never stood down from a battle. It could be a result of his selection in the 11th Round (206th Overall) of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection – facing an uphill fight on his road to become a regular on the Erie Otters defense. The hit-everything-in-sight Toronto native became a blueline bruiser in his rookie season during 2021-22.
Johnston’s reliable presence on the blue line and willingness to stand up for his team serves as a necessary part of the young defensive corps of the team.
MALCOLM SPENCE – ALTERNATE CAPTAIN
Highly-touted, dangerously offensive, and with a high ceiling still to achieve, the growing legacy of 2022 OHL Priority Selection second-overall pick Malcolm Spence grows as he earns his first letter in his Major Junior career.
One of the top-scoring rookies in the 2022-23 OHL season, Spence earned his biggest notoriety during the recent offseason as part of Team Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. In the championship game, the now Sophomore Otter would score the golden goal in extra time to earn Canada the Cup.
With only more to prove in his second season in the OHL, and a natural-born-leader persona about him, it will be exciting to see Spence lead by example for Erie.
PANO FIMIS – ALTERNATE CAPTAIN
Acquired on the first day of the New Year in 2023, second-season Otter Pano Fimis is no stranger to being a captain and a leader. Prior to arriving in Erie, Fimis served as the alternate captain for the Niagara IceDogs in the 2022-23 season.
A passionate, vocal leader in the locker room, the former #2 overall pick will wear a letter for the first time as a member of the Erie Otters, and look to build upon a strong debut in Erie at the start of this year.
Entering his third-year in the league, there’s plenty to prove and prepare for for Fimis – looking to play his part in a long-awaited playoff return for Erie.
The newly-knighted captains will take the ice on Friday evening in Mississauga, as the Otters kick off the 2023-24 OHL season. Fans will be able to see the captains and the Otters in-person for the first time at the Home Opener (pres. by EC3) on Saturday, September 30.
The Otters organization congratulates these young men on their recognition as leaders, and look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that comes with wearing the letters.
About the Erie Otters:
The Erie Otters are an Ontario Hockey League (OHL) team based in Erie, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1996, the Otters have a rich history of excellence both on and off the ice. The team is committed to creating memorable experiences for its fans and contributing to the growth and well-being of the Erie community.
For further information on the Erie Otters and for media inquiries, please contact Shawn Bednard at [email protected].