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Erie Otters fire coach Robbie Ftorek, replace him with Kris Knoblauch

Robbie Ftorek talks to his team during a timeout in the first period in this Feb. 15, 1999 photo in East Rutherford, N.J.

BILL KOSTROUN/AP

The Erie Otters have fired head coach Robbie Ftorek after an ugly start to the Ontario Hockey League season.

Ftorek, who held head coaching jobs in the NHL with Los Angeles, New Jersey and Boston, was in his sixth season with Erie, which is last in the OHL's Western Conference with a 7-15-5 record.

He'll be replaced by Kris Knoblauch, who led the Kootenay Ice to a Western Hockey League championship in 2011.

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"Robbie has a distinguished career in coaching and is one of the classiest people in the game," said Otters general manager Sherry Bassin.

"He is a great mentor on and off the ice. I decided after considerable thought to make this difficult decision and to move in a different direction. The entire Otters family has the utmost respect for Robbie, Wendy and their family and expect that he will go on to bigger and better opportunities."

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