The Brahmas organization is celebrating its 25th anniversary this season. Keep reading to recap 25 great moments in Brahmas history!
#25 – First game played
The summer of 1997 saw the city of Fort Worth welcome a new professional hockey franchise. The Fort Worth Brahmas played their first game in franchise history in front of a crowd of 3,200 at the Fort Worth Convention Center on October 15, 1997, versus the Waco Wizards. The Brahmas won 3-2 with goaltender Rob Laurie earning the win.
#24 – Winning the Governor’s cup 1998
The inaugural Brahmas season would see the franchise flourish. A regular-season record of 41-17-11 would be the best in the WPHL, earning the Brahmas the Governor’s cup. A banner hangs inside the NYTEX Sports Centre to this day paying tribute to the great start. Coach Bill McDonald would be crowned Coach of the Year for his efforts. The Brahmas also made their way to the finals that season going through Austin and Shreveport along the way before being swept in the finals by the El Paso Buzzards.
#23 – Lord Stanley in the house
The Dallas Stars clinched their first and only Stanley Cup in 1999. The victory tour that the Stanley Cup went on following the Star’s win saw the cup making stops all over the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex. In the fall of 1999, the cup made its way to the Fort Worth Convention Center to the delight of the Tarrant County hockey fanbase. Its entrance into the arena came via limousine, where various Stars players poured out of the back of the limo at center ice before Mike Modano emerged holding the cup above his head. Fans were able to take pictures with the cup, and at one point, Lord Stanley’s sacred trophy even made its way into the Brahmas locker room.
#22 – Moved to NYTEX
The 2006-2007 season saw the Brahmas pause their membership in the Central Hockey League while they searched for a new home. The City of Fort Worth had presented the Brahmas with an unfavorable lease along with some very tough available dates, so the team paused for a season to search for a home. In the summer of 2007, two brothers from New York (Frank and Sal Trazzera) had a dream to restore the empty Blue Line Ice Center in North Richland Hills. The Trazzera Brothers and their NYTEX Sports group would end up offering the Brahmas a new home. Now rebranded as the Texas Brahmas, the Brahmas returned to join the Central Hockey League for the 2007-2008 season. Now 15 years later, the Brahmas are thriving inside the NYTEX Sports Centre.
#21 – Hiring Dan Wildfong
Also in the summer of 2007, the Brahmas would need to find a new coach. Dan Wildfong’s skates were still wet, having retired just a few months prior when he applied for the head coaching position the Brahmas had available. Dan, who had just a few months prior been a thorn in the side of every team he faced on the ice, was hired to take the reins of a team that had not performed well over their past few seasons in Fort Worth. Dan quickly proved that he could not only coach but also recruit as the new Texas Brahmas pushed their inaugural season to the brink of a 2nd finals appearance, falling just short in game seven of the conference finals against the Colorado Eagles.
#20 – First home win at NYTEX
The first home win inside the NYTEX Sports Centre would come on October 27, 2007, against Dan Wildfong’s former team, the Shreveport Mudbugs. A new era of an old rivalry was officially born.
#19 – First series win at NYTEX
The Brahmas took their first-round opponent (Mississippi Riverkings) down 2-1 in a best of three series in March of 2007. Both the wins came on home ice.
#18 – The spark that ignited a rivalry
When the cross-town Allen Americans joined the CHL, everyone knew the two teams would eventually become heated rivals. Brahma forward James Hiebert provided the spark to ignite that fire, when he collided with Allen’s star goaltender, Charlie Effinger, in an early-season battle at the Allen Event Center. In November of 2009 when the Americans next played the Brahmas (inside the NYTEX Sports Centre), the Allen Americans decided to dump gasoline on the fire that Hiebert had created. Pregame warmups turned into pregame fisticuffs, as multiple fights broke out across the ice. The action resulted in a dozen games worth of suspensions and over 100 minutes in penalties before the puck had even been dropped. The Americans and Brahmas quickly became a must-see game whenever the two teams met.
#17 – Beating the Americans
When the Brahmas learned that they would be playing the Allen Americans in the 2011 Central Hockey League Playoffs, fans on both sides were immediately excited. Now the intensity of the regular season battles would take on a whole new meaning, as the two squared off in a best of seven-game series. Both teams worked together to promote the games, including some joint appearances on morning television shows and sports radio programs. In the end, the Brahmas took out the Americans in their one and only playoff appearance against each other.
#16 – Joining the NAHL
In July 2013, the Brahmas ownership group officially signed paperwork to purchase the Texas Tornado of the NAHL. The Tornado would be immediately relocated from Frisco to the NYTEX Sports Centre and rebranded as the Lone Star Brahmas.
#15 – First NAHL Home win
The very first game played for the Lone Star Brahmas would see them win against another former Central Hockey League turned NAHL opponent, the Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees. On September 13, 2013, the Brahmas won 4-3 in overtime. The victory was short-lived, as it would be over a month before the Brahmas netted the second win of the season.
#14 – First NHL draft pick
Following the 2014-2015 season, Brahma goaltender Jake Kupsky would get an unexpected phone call on day two of the NHL draft. The San Jose Sharks selected Kupsky in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Draft. With that pick, Jake became the first Brahma to be drafted AFTER he played for the Brahmas.
#13 – Vidmar wins MVP
The 2014-2015 Lone Star Brahmas were a force in the North American Hockey League. Not only did they push their way to the Robertson Cup for the first time, but they would need a new trophy case for all the end-of-season awards that came their way. One of those awards was to Swedish forward Sebastien Vidmar, who earned the league’s Most Valuable Player title — the only time the award has been awarded to a Brahma. Vidmar was unstoppable that season, scoring over a point a game and leading the Brahmas to the final four.
#12 – First NAHL playoff series win
The 2014-2015 season would see the Brahmas earn a spot in the postseason for the first time in their NAHL tenure. The first-round opponent for the Brahmas would be the Wenatchee Wild. The Brahmas would sweep Wenatchee en route to their first South Division postseason title.
#11 – Uniting during tragedy
In February 2021, the Dallas Police Department lost a promising young officer named Mitchell Penton. Penton was a close friend of the Trazzera family and a frequent attendee of Brahma games. The Brahmas rallied around this tragic death by creating a special DPD jersey, each of which had Penton’s nameplate on the front along with his badge number. The jerseys were worn at a Brahma game and then auctioned off with all the proceeds going to the family of Officer Penton. In addition to the jersey auction, the staff of the Brahmas threw together a charity game versus the DPD hockey team. Each member of the staff team donated to the cause, and through all the efforts the Brahmas were able to donate $20,000 to the family of Officer Penton.
#10 – First Division I commitment
In the inaugural NAHL season (2013-2014), the Brahmas acquired Thomas Aldworth, who had just committed to play Division I hockey at Providence College. This made Aldworth the first Lone Star Brahma to commit to playing Division I NCAA hockey.
#9 – Wildfong’s 500th win
Dan Wildfong celebrated win #500 in November 2019. The Brahmas honored him with a special plaque and ceremony during the game. It is an incredible feat for a coach to rack up that many wins, and the good news is Dan is not done winning, so there will likely be more ceremonies in his future.
#8 – 2013 Brahmas/Allen brawl
February 2013 saw tensions come to a boil when the Allen Americans went down 4-1 in a game against the Brahmas. Americans’ player Alex Penner punched Cory Schneider of the Brahmas at center ice at the NYTEX Sports Centre. What followed next was every player on the ice engaging in combat, including the two goalies. Fans went wild as players began tossing gloves into the stands while the officials sorted out the penalties. The fight was so wild, and tensions were so high between fans of both teams, the NRH PD called for backup from neighboring police departments. In total there were 26 police cars that descended upon NYTEX. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed, and there were no arrests or serious injuries.
#7 – Lawhawk jump
As a tribute to the late great Evel Knievel, local attorney Bryan Wilson, the Texas Law Hawk, set the world record for most cases of beer jumped on a motorcycle in an ice rink, with 101 cases jumped. The stunt took place during the first intermission of a Brahmas home game. It has been called one of the greatest intermission activities of all time.
#6 – Retiring #13
On August 12th, 2016, former Brahma great, Justin Kinnunen, passed away tragically. Justin was a member of the first championship team and is often considered the fastest Brahma of all time. Justin was beloved by not only the fans but coaches and players as well. A true class act on and off the ice, his tragic death stuck a dagger in the collective hearts of Brahma Land. As a tribute to Justin, the Brahmas placed an under-ice logo behind the goal in the north end of the NYTEX Sports Centre. It was the spot where he would typically grab the puck and set up the play. The Brahmas also held a pre-game ceremony before a game where they raised a banner into the rafters with his nameplate and number on it. No one will ever be allowed to wear #13 again for the Brahmas.
#5 – Sgt. Potts
The Brahmas helped plan a very special soldier reunion in 2020 when Sgt. Michael Potts returned from active duty. The Brahmas arranged for his daughter to be the ceremonial puck dropper prior to a home game. While she was dropping the puck, Sgt. Potts snuck up behind her and surprised her. There was not a dry eye in the house as Sgt. Potts embraced his daughter for the first time in a year.
#4 – Championship celebration in ZuRoma
Following the Brahmas winning their first title on May 6, 2009, the players and fans took the celebration to Zuroma Bar and Grill. The stains that are on the ceiling above the bar to this day were from overzealous players spraying the crowd with champagne. It was a night that Brahma fans will never forget, and sadly with the way the finals are structured now (neutral site), we will never celebrate a championship on home soil again.
#3 – Fraser cup win
The 2018-2019 NA3HL season saw the Texas Brahmas clinch the NA3HL South regular-season title for the 6th consecutive time. What the boys did next was as close to perfect hockey as a team can play. Eight consecutive wins, allowing just eight goals along the way, helped the team capture the franchise’s first Fraser Cup.
#2 – Robertson cup win
The Brahmas earned their first NAHL title at the conclusion of the 2016-2017 season. The team battled through the South Division, beating Corpus in the South finals in overtime of game 5. Once the boys made it to Duluth, Minnesota, for the Robertson Cup, they put together three consecutive dominant wins to seal the franchise’s first Robertson Cup.
#1 – President’s cup win
The first title in team history was shared with all the Brahma Fans on home ice. The Brahmas reached the CHL finals in May 2009, playing against the team that knocked them out the year before, the Colorado Eagles. Games one and two were played in Colorado and featured on AltitudeTV. The fans that did not make the trek north to see the games in person were able to watch back home as the Brahmas split the first two games. The next three were to be held inside the NYTEX Sports Centre. All three games, despite having less than desirable dates (Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday), sold out and the Brahmas played in front of standing-room-only crowds. The Brahmas took all three games, including a resounding 6-2 victory in the final game to take the President’s Cup.