The Smiths Falls Bears trace back to when the Central Junior Hockey League was formed in 1961 under the act 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, and being known as the Lanark Thunder from 2000-2002. When the Bears first surfaced, the team wore maroon and white - identical colours of the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears. 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. 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 confused CJHL supporters around the league. In February 2000, the Smiths Falls Bears lost all their equipment in a dressing room fire at the Smiths Falls Memorial Centre. The equipment was replaced through donations and charities and the Bears finished off the 1999-00 season. In the summer, the Bears announced to relocate to nearby Lanark, Ontario and became the Lanark Thunder. The new owner promised to draw attendance at the Lanark Arena for the 2000-01 season. The Thunder drew a decent attendance, but attendance dropped in the 2001-02 season causing financial trouble and the Lanark Thunder folded after the 2002 playoffs. The Smiths Falls Bears returned as an expansion team for 2002-03, because the Lanark Thunder ceased operations. Most of the Lanark players went on to play for the Bears, while other players were recruited through the expansion draft. The Smiths Falls Bears missed the playoffs in their first three years back. In December 2004, a new head coach Bill Bowker was assigned to turn the team around. The Bears won just 1 game before January 2005, and fans were criticizing the team's performance and asked what was wrong with the team and how long they would be in Smiths Falls. The coaching change paid off as the Bears made the playoffs four-consecutive years. Their best post-Lanark Thunder season was 2007-08, when the Bears made the CJHL finals after knocking off arch-rivals Brockville Braves in 6 games to compete against the other 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 (Dallas Stars); Nicholas Tremblay (Boston Bruins); and Mark Borowiecki (Ottawa Senators) 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 as the Bears will move to a new arena that is currently near-completion. After the 2010-11 season the Bears let go their longtime head coach and manager Bill Bowker and replaced him with the Ottawa 67's former assistant coach and assistant coach of the bears during the 2010-11 season, Mark Grady. Grady will step in and take over the coaching position for the 2011-12 season.