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Missouri River Otters

Missouri River Otters

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The now defunct Missouri River Otters was a minor pro team in the United Hockey League
United Hockey League
The United Hockey League was a low-level professional ice hockey league , with teams in the United States...

 from 1999 to 2006. They were located in St. Charles, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

. Mike Shanahan Jr. was the owner and president when the team ceased operations. Frank Buonomo served as General Manager. They played all of their home games at the St. Charles Family Arena
Family Arena
The Family Arena is a multi-purpose arena in St. Charles, Missouri, built in 1999. The arena seats 9,643 for hockey, 9,755 for football, 10,467 for basketball, 6,339 for half-house concerts and up to 11,522 for end-stage concerts...

 which opened in October 1999.

After the NHL lockout in 2004-2005, NHL
National Hockey League
The National Hockey League is an unincorporated not-for-profit association which operates a major professional ice hockey league of 30 franchised member clubs, of which 7 are currently located in Canada and 23 in the United States...

 defenseman Barret Jackman
Barret Jackman
Barret Jackman is a Canadian ice hockey defenseman and alternate captain for the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League .-Playing career:Jackman was selected by the St...

 decided to stay in St. Louis
St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

 and play hockey for the River Otters during the lockout, along with center Ryan Johnson, defenseman Bryce Salvador
Bryce Salvador
Bryce Chad Salvador is a professional ice hockey defenceman who currently plays for the New Jersey Devils of the NHL. Salvador was drafted in the sixth round, 138th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft. Salvador was traded from the St. Louis Blues to the Devils for Cam...

 and right winger Jamal Mayers
Jamal Mayers
Jamal David Mayers is a professional ice hockey forward who currently plays for the Chicago Blackhawks of the National Hockey League. He wore jersey number 21 for the Toronto Maple Leafs and the St. Louis Blues, number 19 for the Flames, and number 10 for the San Jose Sharks...




The River Otters also boasted veteran NHL'ers like Jim Montgomery
Jim Montgomery (ice hockey)
Jim Montgomery is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey centre who played in the National Hockey League with the St...

, Dennis Vial
Dennis Vial
Dennis Vial is a retired professional hockey player who played in NHL with the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, and Ottawa Senators...

, and Lonnie Loach
Lonnie Loach
Lonnie Loach is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. Loach spent the majority of his career in the IHL but also played briefly in the NHL with the Ottawa Senators, Los Angeles Kings, and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim...

, who wore #33 and is the only person to have his number retired with the Missouri River Otters.

On January 25, 2006 The Missouri River Otters hosted the 2006 United Hockey League
United Hockey League
The United Hockey League was a low-level professional ice hockey league , with teams in the United States...

 All Star Classic which included events such as the UHL Alumni vs The St. Louis Blues Alumni in a pre game show to raise money for St. Louis Children's Hospital. And a special visit to Children's hospital to all of the United Hockey League
United Hockey League
The United Hockey League was a low-level professional ice hockey league , with teams in the United States...

 Team Mascots and All Star Players.

In late April 2006, Mike Shanahan Jr. decided to fold the team due to lack of attendance, issues with the lease at the Family Arena
Family Arena
The Family Arena is a multi-purpose arena in St. Charles, Missouri, built in 1999. The arena seats 9,643 for hockey, 9,755 for football, 10,467 for basketball, 6,339 for half-house concerts and up to 11,522 for end-stage concerts...

 and a steep workmans comp bill. The staff was then let go as the announcement was made that the team would not play in the up coming 2006-07 United Hockey League
United Hockey League
The United Hockey League was a low-level professional ice hockey league , with teams in the United States...

 season. While leaving open the possibility of a sale, owner Mike Shanahan Jr. said that the competition for the sports dollar in the greater St. Louis area meant that the team would likely fold instead of being sold http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/stories.nsf/othersports/story/4B61898443A2D9918625715E001A620D?OpenDocument. There are now rumors that the Otters might be playing again next season, but not necessarily in the United Hockey League. There is interest in joining the East Coast Hockey League if Missouri reforms. Along with the league change possibilities, a name change may be in the works as well.


Oscar The Otter (Team Mascot)



Oscar the Otter was named the team mascot before the inaugural opener on October 23, 1999 which the Otters won 6 to 2 against the Asheville Smoke
Asheville Smoke
The Asheville Smoke were a professional ice hockey team in the United Hockey League. They played in Asheville, North Carolina from 1998 to 2002. The Smoke were coached by Keith Gretzky from 1998 to 2000. Prior to 1998, the team was known as the Brantford Smoke. The closest rival of Asheville were...



Oscar was well known for his craziness on the ice during home games. He loved to make everyone in the arena beg for T-Shirts during intermissions as well as sign autographs and take rides on the Zamboni.

He was also very active in the community during the 2005-2006 season, He made appearances at Ponderosa Steakhouse in St. Peters on a bi-weekly basis as well as visited local elementary schools and appeared on several TV segments including Tim Ezell's Morning Show during the Guns and Hoses Tournament at The Family Arena.