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North Bay Centennials

The North Bay Centennials were a junior ice hockey team in the Ontario Hockey League, who played from 1982-2002. The team was based in North Bay, Ontario.

History

The North Bay Centennials or "Cents" as they were popularly known, were named after the 100th anniversary of the railroad in North Bay. The team came to the city in 1982 after the new owners of the Niagara Falls Flyers failed to get a deal for a new arena, and chose to relocate to North Bay which already had an adequate facility in operation.

The team can trace its roots back to St. Catharines, Ontario where it played from 1943-1976, as the Falcons, Teepees and Black Hawks, winning the Memorial Cup in 1954 & 1960.

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.

Championships

The Centennials best year was 1994, when the team was first overall in the regular season, won the league championship and made the trip to the national championship. North Bay also won three division titles, and made three trips to the OHL championship series.

Division Trophies


Hamilton Spectator Trophy

  • 1993-94 46 wins, 5 ties, 97 points

J. Ross Robertson Cup

  • 1987 Lost to Oshawa Generals
  • 1992 Lost to S.S.Marie Greyhounds
  • 1994 Champions vs. Detroit Jr. Red Wings


Memorial Cup

  • 1994 4th place in Laval, Quebec

Coaches

In twenty years of operation, the North Bay Centennials had four coaches. The legendary Bert Templeton carried over from Niagara Falls and guided the team for its first twelve years in North Bay. He later became the team's general manager in addition to coaching. He was awarded the OHL Executive of the Year for the 1991-92 season.

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.

  • 1982-1994 - Bert Templeton (12 years)
  • 1994-1996 - Shane Parker (2.5 years)
  • 1997-1998 - Greg Bignell (1.5 years)
  • 1998-2002 - Mike Kelly (4 years)

Players

Award winners

NHL alumni

Season-by-season results

Regular season

Season Games Won Lost Tied OTL Points Pct % Goals
For
Goals
Against
Standing
1982-83 70 44 23 3 - 91 0.650 352 285 3rd Emms
1983-84 70 22 43 5 - 49 0.350 236 327 5th Emms
1984-85 66 34 28 4 - 72 0.545 289 254 3rd Emms
1985-86 66 41 21 4 - 86 0.652 330 240 1st Emms
1986-87 66 46 18 2 - 94 0.712 357 216 1st Emms
1987-88 66 31 30 5 - 67 0.508 284 257 4th Emms
1988-89 66 24 36 6 - 54 0.409 282 334 6th Emms
1989-90 66 23 35 8 - 54 0.409 292 314 5th Emms
1990-91 66 40 23 3 - 83 0.629 322 247 2nd Leyden
1991-92 66 40 21 5 - 85 0.644 323 259 2nd Leyden
1992-93 66 22 38 6 - 50 0.379 251 299 7th Leyden
1993-94 66 46 15 5 - 97 0.735 351 226 1st Leyden
1994-95 66 35 27 4 - 74 0.561 272 247 3rd Eastern
1995-96 66 14 45 7 - 35 0.265 242 360 6th Eastern
1996-97 66 14 44 8 - 36 0.273 214 337 6th Eastern
1997-98 66 15 45 6 - 36 0.273 213 291 6th Central
1998-99 68 22 40 6 - 50 0.368 215 248 3rd Central
1999-00 68 24 35 6 3 57 0.397 214 253 3rd Central
2000-01 68 32 28 6 2 72 0.515 232 220 3rd Central
2001-02 68 18 37 8 5 60 0.324 185 247 4th Central
Total 1336 587 632 107 10 - 0.439 -

Playoffs

  • 1982-83 Defeated Windsor Spitfires 6 points to 0 in first round.
    Lost to Kitchener Rangers 8 points to 2 in quarter-finals.
  • 1983-83 Lost to London Knights 6 points to 2 in first round.
  • 1984-85 Lost to Hamilton Steelhawks 9 points to 7 in first round.
  • 1985-86 Defeated London Knights 9 points to 1 in first round.
    Eliminated in round robin vs. Guelph Platers and Windsor Spitfires. (1 win in 4 games)
  • 1986-87 Lost to Oshawa Generals 4 games to 3 in Super Series. Earned first round bye.
    Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 0 in quarter-finals.
    Defeated Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 2 in semi-finals.
    Lost to Oshawa Generals 4 games to 3 in finals.
  • 1987-88 Lost to Hamilton Steelhawks 4 games to 0 in first round.
  • 1988-89 Defeated Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 1 in first round.
    Lost to London Knights 4 games to 3 in quarter-finals.
  • 1989-90 Lost to Kitchener Rangers 4 games to 1 in first round.
  • 1990-91 Defeated Peterborough Petes 4 games to 0 in first round.
    Lost to Ottawa 67's 4 games to 2 in quarter-finals.
  • 1991-92 Defeated Belleville Bulls 4 games to 1 in first round.
    Defeated Sudbury Wolves 4 games to 0 in quarter-finals.
    Defeated Peterborough Petes 4 games to 1 in semi-finals.
    Lost to S.S.Marie Greyhounds 4 games to 3 in finals.
  • 1992-93 Lost to Kingston Frontenacs 4 games to 1 in first round.
  • 1993-94 Earned bye through division quarter-finals.
    Defeated Belleville Bulls 4 games to 2 in division semi-finals.
    Defeated Ottawa 67's 4 games to 1 in division finals.
    Defeated Detroit Jr. Red Wings 4 games to 3 in finals. OHL CHAMPIONS
    Eliminated in the Memorial Cup round-robin finishing winless.
  • 1994-95 Lost to Belleville Bulls 4 games to 2 in division quarter-finals.
  • 1995-96 Out of playoffs.
  • 1996-97 Out of playoffs.
  • 1997-98 Out of playoffs.
  • 1998-99 Lost to Ottawa 67's 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 1999-00 Lost to Barrie Colts 4 games to 2 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2000-01 Lost to Ottawa 67's 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.
  • 2001-02 Defeated Kingston Frontenacs 6-2 in tie-breaker game for 8th place.
    Lost to St. Michael's Majors 4 games to 0 in conference quarter-finals.

Uniforms and logos

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.

Arena

The Centennials played their home games at the North Bay Memorial Gardens. The Gardens was built in 1955 and currently is home to the North Bay Skyhawks, and also hosted the 1998 OHL All-Star game.

External links

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