Smiths Falls Bears

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Smiths Falls Bears
Smiths Falls Bears.png
City Smiths Falls, Ontario, Canada
League Central Canada Hockey League
Division Robinson
Founded 1961
Home arena Smiths Falls Memorial Centre
Colours Gold, Black, and White
              
General manager Mark Grady
Head coach Mark Grady
Franchise history
1961-1976
1985-2000
Smiths Falls Bears
2000-2002 Lanark Thunder
2002-Present Smiths 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.

History[edit]

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, and a 2-year absence from Smiths Falls as part of a re-location to Lanark, (becoming known as the Lanark Thunder from 2000-2002).

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 as a result of new ownership. Assuming the name of the Lanark Thunder, the new owner promised to draw attendance at the Lanark Arena for the 2000-01 season. While the inaugural season of the Thunder drew satisfactory attendance, it dropped dramatically during the following season, causing financial trouble which folded the team after the 2002 playoffs. The Smiths Falls Bears returned as an expansion team in the CJHL for 2002-03. Most of the Lanark players went on to play for the Bears, while other players were recruited through an expansion draft.

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.

Season-by-Season record[edit]

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

Season GP W L T OTL GF GA Points Finish Playoffs
1961-62 28 10 14 4 - -- -- 24 6th OHDJHL Lost Semi-final
1962-63 32 10 9 3 - 140 124 43 2nd OHDJHL Lost Final
1963-64 32 13 16 3 - -- -- 29 6th OHDJHL Lost Quarter-final
1964-65 36 29 5 2 - 175 75 60 1st CJHL Won League
1965-66 36 20 9 7 - 177 123 47 4th CJHL Lost Semi-final
1966-67 50 22 20 8 - 186 176 52 2nd CJHL Lost Final
1967-68 40 21 15 4 - 197 143 46 2nd CJHL Lost Final
1968-69 40 20 11 9 - 157 123 49 2nd CJHL Lost Semi-final
1969-70 40 13 22 5 - 135 159 31 4th CJHL
1970-71 48 31 12 5 - 247 183 67 1st CJHL
1971-72 48 29 17 2 - 250 208 60 1st CJHL Won League
1972-73 55 25 29 1 - 246 274 51 4th CJHL
1973-74 50 30 17 3 - 301 240 63 1st CJHL Won League, Won CC
1974-75 50 27 16 7 - 287 222 61 2nd CJHL Won League, Won CC
1975-76 50 24 20 6 - 223 227 54 3rd CJHL
1976-85 Did Not Participate
1985-86 60 12 44 1 3 231 389 28 7th CJHL
1986-87 54 24 25 5 - 218 219 55 5th CJHL
1987-88 56 4 52 0 - 174 441 11 8th CJHL
1988-89 55 24 30 1 - 269 305 52 6th CJHL
1989-90 56 17 33 1 5 225 294 40 8th CJHL
1990-91 53 13 31 3 6 285 375 35 8th CJHL
1991-92 57 9 46 1 1 206 423 20 10th CJHL
1992-93 57 8 43 2 4 184 385 22 10th CJHL
1993-94 57 33 15 4 5 293 229 75 3rd CJHL
1994-95 54 29 10 8 7 237 203 73 2nd CJHL
1995-96 54 26 26 2 - 253 247 54 1st Yzerman
1996-97 53 41 8 4 - 271 172 87 2nd Yzerman Lost final
1997-98 54 26 19 11 - 224 202 69 2nd Yzerman
1998-99 54 28 20 6 - 202 220 62 4th Yzerman
1999-00 56 25 28 3 - 240 256 53 4th Yzerman
2000-01 55 24 23 8 0 207 194 59 4th Yzerman
2001-02 55 16 26 15 - 212 260 47 4th Yzerman
2002-03 55 9 39 7 2 196 317 25 5th Yzerman DNQ
2003-04 55 11 38 5 4 196 335 28 5th Yzerman DNQ
2004-05 57 9 42 1 5 165 304 24 5th Yzerman DNQ
2005-06 59 18 31 5 5 193 250 46 4th in Yzerman Lost quarter-final
2006-07 55 25 23 5 2 199 200 57 4th in Yzerman Lost semi-final
2007-08 60 41 15 4 0 280 183 86 2nd CJHL Lost final
2008-09 60 36 22 - 2 247 205 74 5th CJHL Lost Quarter-final
2009-10 62 18 40 - 4 148 256 40 10th CJHL DNQ
2010-11 62 27 29 - 6 191 229 60 8th CCHL Lost Quarter-final
2011-12 62 30 30 - 2 220 240 62 8th CCHL Lost Quarter-final
2012-13 62 36 22 - 4 235 183 76 7th CCHL Lost Quarter-final
2013-14 62 41 17 - 4 238 174 86 2nd CCHL Lost Final

Championships[edit]

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

Notable alumni[edit]

External links[edit]