The Centennials won back-to-back Emms division titles in 1986 and 1987. In 1987 the OHL organized a Super Series for the right to host the Memorial Cup tournament between the Leyden Division champions Oshawa Generals, and the Emms Division champions North Bay Centennials. The super series was played before the OHL playoffs commenced. North Bay came within one game of hosting the national junior championship, losing game seven to the Oshawa Generals. In the OHL championship series that year the Centennials and Generals faced off again with the same result, Oshawa defeating North Bay 4 games to 3.
Determined to return to the Memorial Cup, coach and general manager Bert Templeton began building his team for another championship run. In 1991-92 North Bay would return to the OHL finals, losing to their northern counterparts, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in seven games. Templeton was awarded the OHL Executive of the Year for the 1991-92 season.
Two years later in 1994, North Bay was on top of the league winning the Hamilton Spectator Trophy. They entered the playoffs as the #1 ranked junior team in Canada. This time the Centennials would prevail in the finals by defeating the Detroit Junior Red Wings in seven games. Injuries began to take their toll on the team as they headed to the 1994 Memorial Cup, played in Laval, Quebec. North Bay dropped all three games on the round-robin; losing 5-4 to the Laval Titan, 3-1 to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, and 5-1 to the Kamloops Blazers.
Templeton was awarded the Ontario Hockey League and Canadian Hockey League Coach of the Year in 1994. He asked for a raise in renegotiating his contract. When the raise was not given, Templeton and the Centennials parted ways.
After Bert Templeton was let go, the Centennials fell on hard times with many losing seasons. The Cents never regained their previous form and attendance dropped off yearly.
For the 1999-2000 season, the Centennials released new uniforms with an updated logo to boost retail sales. However, profits were still declining. Combined with an aging facility, the team became unprofitable and was ultimately sold to a group of American investors in 2002, and moved to Saginaw, Michigan to become the Saginaw Spirit.
When the Centennials won the championship in 1994, Templeton was awarded the Matt Leyden Trophy as OHL Coach of the Year, and the CHL Coach of the Year Award. He asked for a raise in renegotiating his contract. Failing which, Templeton and the Centennials parted ways.
Shane Parker took over for two and a half seasons, replaced by Greg Bignell for a year and a half. Mike Kelly coched the last four years. He resigned when the team departed North Bay.
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The North Bay Centennials logo from 1982 to 1999 used the Centennials name and four wheels to form the shape of a locomotive engine. Home jerseys were white with black and gold trim. Away jerseys were black with white and gold trim. North Bay later wore a third jersey with a gold background with black and white trim. Shoulder patches featured a front view of a locomotive on tracks.
The Centennials new logo from 1999 to 2002 was an angry hockey stick wielding railroad engineer above the name of the team. Home jerseys were white with black and gold trim. Away jerseys were black with white and gold trim. The new jerseys had the previous main logo as shoulder patches.
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