After a disastrous 1994/95 season in the Rocky Mountain Junior Hockey League that saw the Millionaires finish in last place, the Mills looked to the 1995/96 season to make a number of big changes including the hiring of a new Head Coach.
With a winning history behind them, the Millionaires went to the East Coast to land Paddy Flynn. A former Assistant Coach with the Owen Sound Platers of the OHL, Flynn now had the responsibility of building a championship team in the RMJHL as Head Coach.
With teams such as the Prince George Spruce Kings and the Grande Prairie Storm favored to dominate the Peace-Cariboo Division, The Millionaires looked east once again for talent to rebuild the team.
Ron Watts (Ontario), Jamie Coady (Newfoundland), and Craig Minard (Ontario) were brought in by new coach Paddy Flynn to boost the Mills offense.
20 year old Watts, a former Major Junior player and scoring sensation brought much needed leadership to the club as their new Captain. 20 year old Coady, like Watts brought a deadly scoring touch along with speed and a 6’ - 200Ib frame. 20 year old Minard, a standout defenseman who also played Major Junior, gave the Millionaires a top level D-Man to back the power play.
With a talented team made up of such players as Watts, Coady, Minard, Otis Jasper, Colin Miller, Shannon Goudie, Shawn Austin, Ruslan Klyzub and goalie Brent Davey, the 1995/96 Millionaires quickly jumped to a 10-2 record in their first twelve games as one of the most exciting teams in the league. With Captain Ron Watts and Jamie Coady one-two in scoring, the Mills quickly became the team to watch.
However, after several key trades fell through, the Millionaires found it tough to win a game and quickly watched as Prince George and Grande Prairie over-took them. After coming up just short of over taking the third place Fort St. John Huskies, the Mills would finish the season as one of the hottest teams in the league. With fourth place locked up the red hot Millionaires would go on to meet first place Grande Prairie in the first round of the Peace Cariboo Division Playoffs.
Highlights for the season included Captain Ron Watts capturing both the RMJHL Scoring Championship (132 points) and the League MVP Award, Craig Minard earning Best Defenseman, and Colin Miller winning the Most Sportsmanlike Player Award. Watts would also tie a long standing goal scoring record with 62.
The first round match up between the Millionaires and the Storm would prove to be a battle of words as the Grande Prairie media took every opportunity to give the Mills little or no chance of winning even a single game. Having beaten the Millionaires 11 games to 1 during the regular season, the under-dog Millionaires surprised the Storm in game one and then watched as the Storm took games two and three.
Heading back to Quesnel down 2-1, the Mills used every chance to jump all over the surprised Storm team. With Assistant Captain Otis Jasper wearing Indian war paint on his face and a high flying Millionaires team, the Grande Prairie Storm never knew what hit them.
The Millionaires cruised through the Storm in three straight games to eliminate them 4 games to 2. The Mills would now face the favored Prince George Spruce Kings who had stopped the Fort St. John Huskies in 5 games.
With a packed house at the Quesnel Twin Ice Arena awaiting the battle between the Millionaires and the Spruce Kings, the Mills came out hitting and battled the Kings to overtime in game one and double overtime in game two. However, the Spruce King’s offense and depth proved to be too much for the Mill’s as they lost in four games.
A five minute standing ovation at the end of the series echoed through the building as the Millionaires began to leave the ice and the end of an exciting year.
With a packed house of screaming fans at each playoff game, the Millionaires once again brought exciting hockey back to the gold rush town of Quesnel.