Smiths Falls Bears

Last updated


Smiths Falls Bears
Smiths Falls Bears.png
City Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada
League Central Canada Hockey League
DivisionRobinson
Founded1961
Home arenaSmiths Falls Memorial Community Centre
Colours Gold, Black, and White
            
Owner(s)Chris Cassell
General managerPat Malloy
Head coachRob Dopson
Franchise history
1961-1976
1985-2000
Smiths Falls Bears
2000-2002Lanark Thunder
2002-PresentSmiths Falls Bears

The Smiths Falls Bears are a Junior "A" ice hockey team from Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada. They are a part of the Central Canada Hockey League. The team was an original member of the league, but then left Smiths Falls in 1976. The team then rejoined the league in 1985, and later had a short two-year stint in Lanark before returning to Smiths Falls.

Contents

History

The origins of the Smiths Falls Bears trace back to when the Central Junior Hockey League was formed in 1961 under the direction of the Montreal Canadiens. The Bears are one of the oldest franchises in Canadian Junior A hockey, despite a 9-year leave of absence from 1976 to 1985. From 2000 to 2002 the team was known as the Lanark Thunder and played out of Perth, Ontario before the franchise was suspended. As a result, the Smiths Falls Bears were re-admitted to the league as an expansion team for 2002-03 and held an expansion draft.

The Bears inaugural season saw members wear maroon and white - identical colours of the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears. In 1985, the Bears returned to the league wearing the colours black, gold, and white - identical to the Pittsburgh Penguins uniforms in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, the Bears went back to their original colours of maroon and white, but with grey. In 1998, the Bears changed their colours to teal and black, which being such a departure from earlier styles, confused CJHL supporters around the league.

The Bears won their first Art Bogart Cup in 1965 as Central Junior Hockey League champions. The Bears won back-to-back CJHL championships in 1974 and 1975. In 1976, the Bears took a leave of absence from the league, returning in 1985.

In February 2000, a dressing room fire at the Smiths Falls Memorial Centre destroyed almost all of the team's equipment. The equipment was replaced through donations and charities and Bears were able to finish the 1999-00 season. The following summer, the Bears announced their relocation to nearby Lanark, Ontario. Assuming the name of the Lanark Thunder, the owner promised to draw attendance at the Perth Community Arena for the 2000-01 season. While the inaugural season of the Thunder drew satisfactory attendance, it dropped dramatically during the following season and nearly being unable to participate in the playoffs at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season and having to give up their playoff spot to the second-last team (Brockville). The Thunder played the Nepean Raiders in the first round and lost the series 4-0. Immediately afterwards, the team was suspended allowing the original franchise to be re-admitted as an expansion team.

The Smiths Falls Bears missed the playoffs in their first three years returning from Lanark. In December 2004, a new head coach Bill Bowker was assigned to turn the team around. The Bears had won just a single game before January 2005, which resulted in heavy criticism by fans and media alike. But the coaching change paid off as the Bears made the playoffs for the next four years. Their best post-Lanark Thunder season was 2007-08, when the Bears appeared in the CJHL finals after knocking off arch-rivals Brockville Braves in 6 games to compete against arch-rivals Pembroke Lumber Kings. The Lumber Kings won the finals in 5 games. In July 2008, three Bears were chosen in the NHL Draft. Mike Bergin (by the Dallas Stars); Nicholas Tremblay (by the Boston Bruins); and Mark Borowiecki (by the Ottawa Senators). They became the first trio of players from the same CJHL club to be chosen in the NHL Draft. Mark Borowiecki left Clarkson University after the 2010-11 season as he signed a 2-year minor league contract with the Ottawa Senators minor league affiliate the Binghamton Senators.

On February 27, 2010, the Smiths Falls Bears played their final game at the Smiths Falls Memorial Centre. During the off-season, the arena was torn down and replaced with a new one on exactly the same premises. After the 2010-11 season the Bears released their longtime head coach and manager Bill Bowker. Bowker was replaced with Ottawa 67's former assistant coach (and assistant coach of the Bears during the 2010-11 season) Mark Grady.

In 2016, the Smiths Falls Bears and the Town of Smiths Falls was awarded the 2018 Fred Page Cup. The Bears have the newest and most-suitable facility in the league.

Season-by-Season record

Note: GP = Games Played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against

1961-622810144-----246th OHDJHLLost Semi-final
1962-63321093-140124432nd OHDJHLLost Final
1963-643213163-----296th OHDJHLLost Quarter-final
1964-65362952-17575601st CJHLWon League
1965-66362097-177123474th CJHLLost Semi-final
1966-675022208-186176522nd CJHLLost Final
1967-684021154-197143462nd CJHLLost Final
1968-694020119-157123492nd CJHLLost Semi-final
1969-704013225-135159314th CJHL
1970-714831125-247183671st CJHL
1971-724829172-250208601st CJHLWon League
1972-735525291-246274514th CJHL
1973-745030173-301240631st CJHLWon League, Won CC
1974-755027167-287222612nd CJHLWon League, Won CC
1975-765024206-223227543rd CJHL
1976-85Did Not Participate
1985-8660124413231389287th CJHL
SeasonGP W L T OTLGF GA PointsFinishPlayoffs
1986-875424255-218219555th CJHL
1987-88564520-174441118th CJHL
1988-895524301-269305526th CJHL
1989-9056173315225294408th CJHL
1990-9153133136285375358th CJHL
1991-9257946112064232010th CJHL
1992-9357843241843852210th CJHL
1993-9457331545293229753rd CJHL
1994-9554291087237203732nd CJHL
1995-965426262-253247541st Yzerman
1996-97534184-271172872nd YzermanLost final
1997-9854261911-224202692nd Yzerman
1998-995428206-202220624th Yzerman
1999-005625283-240256534th Yzerman
2000-0155242380207194594th Yzerman
2001-0255162615-212260474th Yzerman
2002-035593972196317255th YzermanDNQ
2003-0455113854196335285th YzermanDNQ
2004-055794215165304245th YzermanDNQ
2005-0659183155193250464th in YzermanLost quarter-final
2006-0755252352199200574th in YzermanLost semi-final
2007-0860411540280183862nd CJHLLost final
2008-09603622-2247205745th CJHLLost Quarter-final
2009-10621840-41482564010th CJHLDNQ
2010-11622729-6191229608th CCHLLost Quarter-final
2011-12623030-2220240628th CCHLLost Quarter-final
2012-13623622-4235183767th CCHLLost Quarter-final
2013-14624117-4238174862nd CCHLLost Final
2014-1562282635173206645th of 6 Robinson
7th of 12 CCHL
Lost Prelim. Round, 1-2 (Raiders)
2015-1662382202220170784th of 6 Robinson
6th of 12 CCHL
Lost Quarterfinals, 0-4 (Hawks)
2016-1762213452177209556th of 6 Robinson
7th of 12 CCHL
Lost Quarterfinals, 1-4 (Colts)
2017-1862213431158196555th of 6 Robinson
9th of 12 CCHL
Did not qualify for Playoffs

Championships

CJHL Bogart Cup Championships: 1965, 1972, 1974, 1975
Eastern Canadian Fred Page Cup Championships: None
CJAHL Royal Bank Cup Championships: None

Notable alumni

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