|League:||Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League|
|Home Arena:||BWG Leisure Centre|
|Colors:|| Green, Black, Yellow, and White
|General Manager:||Johan Lundskog|
|Head Coach:||Johan Lundskog/Al Sims|
|1971-1975:||Bradford Vasey Juniors|
The Bradford Rattlers are a Canadian Junior ice hockey team based out of Bradford, Ontario. They play out of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League. Recently, the Rattlers, known until now as the Bulls, were bought out by a local group of investors for the purpose of moving the team up to Junior "A" from the Georgian Mid-Ontario Junior C Hockey League.
HistoryEditThe Bradford franchise was founded in 1971 as they joined the South-Central Junior "D" Hockey League. The league soon became the Central Junior "C", then the Mid-Ontario Junior "C", and finally after merging with the Georgian Junior "C" league became the Georgian Mid-Ontario Junior "C" Hockey League. Their team's first championship was the Junior "D" OHA Cup in 1973. They won the All-Ontario Junior "D" title by defeating the Mitchell Hawks 4-games-to-1. That summer, the SCJDHL was promoted to Junior "C". In 1980, Bradford won their league and went all the way to the Clarence Schmalz Cup All-Ontario Final. In the end, they lost out to the Leamington Flyers 4-games-straight. In 1986, they made it all the way back to the All-Ontario final only to lose to the Norwich Merchants 4-games-to-3. In 1989, the Bulls struck gold. They won their league and then followed it up with a 4-games-to-2 series victory to defeat the Hanover Barons to win their only ever Clarence Schmalz Cup. The Bulls won the league again in 1998, but did not reach the All-Ontario Final. The Most valuable Player of the playoffs was Noah Bell, who was drafted into the Ontario Hockey League a year later by the Sudbury Wolves.
The Bradford Bulls were bought out towards the end of the 2005-06 season by a local party who owned an independent Junior "A" travelling team known as the Toronto Rattlers. The Rattlers toured the United States playing games in junior hockey tournaments and against college teams from 2004 until 2006. A number of alumni received US college offers and Russian Kirill Tulupov was taken by the New Jersey Devils in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.
The new ownership group wanted the thirty-five year old Toronto-Area franchise moved up to the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League, but when the Ontario Hockey Association turned down the request the team walked away from the OHA. Under the new name "Rattlers", the team is now a member of the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League -- an independent league, free of OHA control.
The Bradford Rattlers first ever game in the GMHL was against the South Muskoka Shield on September 15, 2006 in Gravenhurst, Ontario. The Rattlers dismantled the Shield, winning by a score of 10-1. Andreas Goetz picked up the teams first ever Junior "A" victory in net. Their first home game was on September 17, 2006 against the Toronto Canada Moose, a 5-3 win.
On September 24, 2006, the Bradford Rattlers became the last undefeated team of the GMHL's inaugural season, moving to 5-0-0-0, defeating the (until then undefeated) Richmond Hill Rams by a score of 3-1. The winning streak lasted until October 15, 2006, 10-0-0-0, as the Rattlers picked up an overtime loss to the King Wild. The Rattlers still had yet to lose a game in regulation. On January 21, 2007, the streak ended. Entering the game against the Deseronto Thunder the Rattlers had compiled a 27-0-0-4 record. At one point, the Thunder were leading 5-2 but in typical Rattler fashion, Bradford came back. The comeback was not enough as they lost for the first time ever in regulation by a score of 6-5. Their league record of 31 straight games without a regulation loss will be a challenge to ever surpass.
The Rattlers finished the season in first place, earning a bye into the league semi-final. Their semi-final opponent was the Deseronto Thunder. The Thunder game out flying, winning the first two games of the series. With their backs almost against wall, the Rattlers pulled themselves together and won the next four games straight to earn the right to play in the league final. The league final was against the league's second seeded King Wild. The Rattlers squeaked out Game One with a 2-1 victory. Game Two saw the Wild come alive with a convincing 6-3 victory to even the series. The Rats came back on fire and won Game Three 5-0. Game Four and Five went to overtime with Bradford winning 2-1 and 4-3, respectively, to win the Bradford Rattlers the first ever Bob Russell Cup as GMJHL Champions.
On December 30, 2007, the Rattlers hosted the Moscow Selects All-star team in an exhibition game. The Selects won the game by a score of 8-4. This was the second game of seven that the Moscow team played against different GMJHL clubs.
In 2007-08, the Rattlers challenged their 31-game record for regular season games without a regulation loss (one season), but came up short with a still impressive 28-game streak with a 5-3 January 6 loss to the Deseronto Storm. The Rattlers did, however, set a new league record for regular season games without a regulation loss (multiple seasons) with 38. This also marked the end of the longest winning streak in GMJHL history of 27 straight wins.
The Rattlers began the 2008 playoffs against the Toronto Canada Moose, whom they swept. They then defeated the South Muskoka Shield 4-games-to-1. In the league semi-final, they swept the Elliot Lake Bobcats, and in the league final they swept the Innisfil Lakers to win their second straight Russell Cup. There was no Alliance Cup in 2008.
On January 5, 2009, the Rattlers played off against Kazakhstan's Torpedo UST-Kamenogorsk Under-18 squad in Shelburne, Ontario. At one point leading 5-0, the Rattlers played a lot of their younger players in the second half of the game. The final score was 6-5 for Bradford.
The Rattlers finished the 2008-09 season with the second best record in the South Division and third best in the league. In the playoffs, the Rattlers first met the Toronto Canada Moose. After winning the first two games, the Moose came back and took game three and four of the best-of-5 series to force a decisive game five. The Rattlers overcame the potential upset and won the series 3-games-to-2. In the division semi-final, the Rattlers drew the pesky Deseronto Storm. The Rattlers took game one, but in game two and three the Storm took control. The Rattlers had to win game four to prolong the best-of-5 series, and succeeded with a 5-1 victory. The next morning it was announced that the Deseronto Storm protested the result of game four due to a roster violation by Bradford. Upon review of the league, the result of game four was overturned and the Rattlers were disqualified from the remainder of the playoffs.
(*) Standings Incomplete.
- 2007 Won League, Won Alliance Cup
- Bradford Rattlers defeated Deseronto Thunder 4-games-to-2 in semi-final
- Bradford Rattlers defeated King Wild 4-games-to-1 in final
- Bradford Rattlers defeated New Westminster Whalers 3-games-to-none in Alliance Cup
- 2008 Won League
- Bradford Rattlers defeated Toronto Canada Moose 4-games-to-none in bye round
- Bradford Rattlers defeated South Muskoka Shield 4-games-to-1 in quarter-final
- Bradford Rattlers defeated Elliot Lake Bobcats 4-games-to-none in semi-final
- Bradford Rattlers defeated Innisfil Lakers 4-games-to-none in final
- 2009 Lost Division Semi-final
- Bradford Rattlers defeated Toronto Canada Moose 3-games-to-2 in division quarter-final
- Deseronto Storm defeated Bradford Rattlers 3-games-to-1 in division semi-final
- 2010 Lost Semi-final
- Bradford Rattlers defeated Brock Bucks 3-games-to-none in quarter-final
- South Muskoka Shield defeated Bradford Rattlers 4-games-to-1 in semi-final
Clarence Schmalz Cup AppearancesEdit
- 1980: Leamington Flyers defeated Bradford Blues 4-games-to-none
- 1986: Norwich Merchants defeated Bradford Blues 4-games-to-3
- 1989: Bradford Bulls defeated Hanover Barons 4-games-to-2