FORT WORTH, Texas – He’s not Bobby Orr for the Boston Bruins; he’s not “Rocket” Richard for the Montreal Canadiens; he’s not Mike Modano for the Dallas Stars, but Chad Woollard has been the face of Fort Worth Brahmas for many fans, not just in Fort Worth but in the entire Central Hockey League.
He’s a 14-year pro and eight of those have been in the purple and black leading fans to refer to him as Mr. Brahma. Unfortunately for these fans, with the call of an opportunity outside of hockey and a look at the future of his family, Woollard has decided to retire mid-season and take a job with a local company.
This season, Woollard has worn the Assistant Captain’s “A” on his chest for the Brahmas but he leaves behind an even bigger legacy. He’s the franchise’s leader in virtually all offensive categories including games played (453), goals (218), assists (225), penalty minutes (858), power play goals (59) and hat tricks (7)…and the list just goes on and on.
His consistency will surely be missed by the fans and his Brahmas’ teammates – he’s put up 443 points in his 453 games with the franchise which comes out to nearly a point per game.
Despite everything he brings to the ice, there is more to Woollard. He has consistently been a positive representation of the Brahmas organization and hockey in general at both team-sponsored events and on his own time – making numerous visits to charities and hospitals, and buying gifts for sick Brahmas fans on his own dime.
Now the team that he has become so recognized with has honored the man who has given so much back to the fans both on and off the ice.The Brahmas organization held a special ceremony prior to their game against the Allen Americans on Friday evening to recognize a man who has spent over half of his career in the purple and black. The Fort Worth Brahmas Fan Club gave him a commemorative plaque and the team presented him with his white jersey from this season in a frame.
“It was memorable,” Woollard said about the ceremony. “I thought it was really classy how the Brahmas organization did it. I had no idea. I knew they were going to do something but I had no idea it was going to be like that. To see Mike (Barack) out there too was, it was pretty special for me. I mean a lot of people know we’ve had a great history and he’s a good friend and it was a real nice surprise.”
A player doesn’t spend eight seasons with on team without having something special with the fans, and Woollard certainly had that.
“It’s been the same fans for me for 14; they haven’t gone anywhere, they’re loyal.” He went on to say. “They’re unbelievable fans. They win Fans of the Year for a reason and Most Annoying Fans and that’s because they prove it every night and it’s been a pleasure to play in front of them.”
Now comes a big transition for Woollard. He told Brahmas’ public address announcer Jeff Smith and the crowd at NYTEX Sports Centre that he’s been playing hockey since he was three or four years old. Whether he works a 9-5 desk job or has a more flexible schedule, it will definitely be nothing like the grind of being a minor league hockey player.
Despite retiring, Woollard did not completely shut the door on making one last appearance in a Brahmas sweater in this season’s playoffs.
“If they were in a pinch and needed a player, I’d obviously jump at it and help them out,” He continued. “I really think they have a chance to do it (win a championship), and I hope they do because the times are few and far between when you get a chance and have a special team and I think they have it this year.”
When asked by Smith what he was going to do after his final game Woollard replied, “Go home and take care of my body.” That seems like a smart decision for a man who has thrown as many hits, gotten into as many corner battles, gutted through as many injuries, taken as many long bus rides, exhausted his body, and taken as much abuse as Woollard has.
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