The Belleville Bulls started in 1979 as a Junior Tier II team in the OHA. In their second season in 1980–81, the Bulls won the Tier II title, defeating the Guelph Platers in the league finals. The Bulls then competed in the national championship for the Manitoba Centennial Trophy hosted in Halifax, Nova Scotia losing in the finals to the Prince Albert Raiders.
On February 2, 1981 the OHL granted an expansion franchise to the city of Belleville and the ownership group of Dr. Robert L. Vaughan & Bob Dolan. Dr. Robert L. Vaughan remained an owner/co-owner of the team for over 20 years until he sold the team in 2004 to Gord Simmonds. Dr. Vaughan was awarded the Bill Long award in 1993 for distinguished service to the OHL.
In 1983 Belleville hosted the OHL All-Star Game, known then as the OHL Chrysler Cup.
The Bulls reached the OHL finals in 1986 versus familiar foe from their Tier II days, the Guelph Platers. The Platers won the series in 6 games. In 1995 and 1996 the Bulls lost in the semi-finals to the Guelph Storm.
The 1999 season would be one for the memories when the Belleville Bulls would win it all. The Bulls defeated the London Knights 9–2 in game seven of the OHL championship series at the Yardmen Arena to win their first J. Ross Robertson Cup.
The Bulls competed in the 1999 Memorial Cup, hosted in Ottawa versus the Calgary Hitmen, Acadie-Bathurst Titan & Ottawa 67's. Belleville finished 3rd, losing to Ottawa 4–2 in the semifinal.
In the 2005–06 season the Belleville Bulls celebrated their 25th anniversary in the OHL. The team also hosted the annual OHL All-Star game for the second time, on February 1, 2006. The Bulls set a season-best record of 102 points earned during the 2007–08 regular season.
In 2007–08 the Bulls made a trip to the Memorial Cup by virtue of Kitchener winning the Western Conference, and being the host, Belleville would get in as the OHL representative. The Bulls would lose the semi-final game 9-0 against the hosting team, the Kitchener Rangers, who would eventually lose to the Spokane Chiefs in the championship game.
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