Missouri River Otters
The now defunct Missouri River Otters were a minor pro team in the United Hockey League from 1999 to 2006. They were located in St. Charles. 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 which opened in October of 1999.
After the NHL lockout in 2004-2005, NHL Defensemen Barret Jackman decided to stay in St. Louis and play hockey for the River Otters during the lockout, along with Center Ryan Johnson, Defenseman Bryce Salvador and Right Winger Jamal Mayers
The River Otters also boasted veteran NHL'ers like Jim Montgomery and Lonnie Loach who wore #33 and is the only person to have his number retired with the Missouri River Otters.
On January 25th 2006 The Missouri River Otters hosted the 2006 United Hockey League All Star Classic which included events such as the UHL Almuni 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 Team Mascots and All Star Players.
In late April 2006, Mike Shannahan Jr. Decided to fold the team due to lack of attendance, Issues with the lease at the Family Arena and a steep workman's 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 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 . 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
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 durinng the Guns and Hoses Tournament at The Family Arena.