Otters release Hartsburg, name Adams new Head Coach

Erie Otters

With only three wins in their first 11 games, the Erie Otters have released head coach Chris Hartsburg of his duties and have named B.J. Adams the ninth head coach in franchise history.

The organization commented on the decision in a press release on Thursday:

“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,” said Otters General Manager Dave Brown. “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.”

During his time as an Assistant, serving under Kris Knoblauch, Adams and the Otters won the Holody Trophy (Midwest Division Champions) and the Hamilton Spectator Trophy (First Place, Regular Season) twice, and the Wayne Gretzky Trophy (Western Conference Champions) and J. Ross Robertson Cup (OHL Champions) once. On June 29, 2017, Adams was promoted to the role of Associate Coach. That same season, Adams served as Team Canada Red’s Assistant Coach at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Adams’ squad earned a Silver Medal at the Challenge, with his defense allowing the third-least number of goals against.  

In his six years guiding the Otters penalty kill, his specialty team group has finished as one of the OHL’s top-five units three times, including a fourth-place ranking in 2019-20 following a success rate improvement of 14.4 percent while cutting power play goals allowed by nearly half from the previous season. 

“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,” said Adams. “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.” 

The 2021-22 Season will represent the first for Adams as a Head Coach, serving as an Associate and Assistant Coach for the last 11 years in professional, collegiate and Major Junior hockey. Adams played 10 seasons of professional hockey in the CHL, ECHL, UHL, and IHL, after graduating from Bowling Green State University with his B.S. in Education.  

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