ERIN – In a town that loves hockey like Erin, the loss of a Saturday night senior level team was a big blow to the community.
That feeling seems to have been short-lived as the town has a new senior hockey team joining a different league.
The Erin Outlaws a senior AA hockey team will play in the newly-formed Ontario Elite Hockey League (OEHL) starting this fall.
The OEHL is made up of 10 teams formerly a part of the Western Ontario Athletic Association and two expansion teams including the Outlaws.
Most recently, the town had the Erin Blitz who played its first season in 2022 and 2023 with the Western Ontario Super Hockey League (WOSHL). The team ended up moving to Orangeville to play in the upcoming season due to issues with ice time, the Blitz’s president told EloraFergusToday in a previous interview.
“When the Blitz chose to leave, it was sort of a blanket of sadness around the town,” said Ann Shanahan, Erin Outlaws co-president with Dustin Scott.
“They had just created such a momentum and the last few games were fantastic.”
Just a few weeks prior to the interview, Shanahan and Scott were approached by some former Erin Blitz players who wanted to stay local and keep a hockey team in Erin.
When they found there was still ice time available at the last minute, Shanahan said they grabbed it and put together a business plan in 72 hours which was accepted by the league.
“Erin sweats hockey, you know, we have two minor hockey teams in a town this size,” Shanahan said. “There’s not a whole lot to do in town on a Saturday night. I think what we learned from the Blitz last year was people really want it and people really enjoyed it.”
She said the Erin Outlaws plan to be really community driven by bringing in minor hockey clubs, the skating clubs, fundraising for local service clubs or bringing in veterans for Remembrance Day.
“We want it to be something the town can enjoy, even if they’re not huge hockey lovers, it’s going to be more community entertainment,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan stressed there’s no hard feelings towards the Blitz organization who she said paved the way for the Erin Outlaws to happen.
The Outlaws’ staff has been filled and Shanahan has heard a lot of interest from those looking to tryout for the team, which will take place when ice is installed after labour day.
The puck drops for the first time for the Erin Outlaws on Oct. 14.