A community campaign to save the North Bay Centennials hockey club fell short of money and support. The Ontario Hockey League's board of governors approved the team's sale and transfer to Saginaw, Mich. in February, thus ending a 20-year relationship with the city. Despite selling 2,700 season tickets for the 2002-03 season, and renegotiating a favourable arena deal with the city, the Save the Cents committee drive ended up $1 million short of matching Michigan businessman Richard Garber's offer of $3.2 million ($2 million US). North Bay businessmen Ted Thomson and Bill Finnis announced the sale of the team in late December saying poor attendance in recent season had cost them as much as $240,000 per year.
An official with the city says the departure of the Centennials represents an annual revenue loss of $31,000 for the city.