The road has been long -- and rewarding -- for the Fort Worth Brahmas.The hockey team, which shares first place in the Central Hockey League standings, is on home ice tonight as it bids farewell to franchise icon Chad Woollard, who is retiring after 14 seasons, eight spent with the Brahmas.Fort Worth (29-15-5) won each game of its recent five-game road trip that wrapped up Wednesday night with a 7-1 victory over Arizona, aided by forward John Snowden's team-record five goals.Now, the Brahmas return for tonight's 7:30 game against the other first-place team, Allen, at NYTEX Sports Centre, with Woollard playing his final game before taking a job with an area company. He said the anticipation of his finale has been emotional."Having this week to build up to the game, has been hard. But knowing that it's going to be over after [tonight] is a bit of a relief," said Woollard, 33, who has lived in the area for six years. "It's my time to walk away from the game without any regrets. It's definitely the right decision at this time."The prolific forward, in two stints with the Brahmas, set the franchise standards for games played (452), goals (218), assists (225) and adulation.He will be honored in a ceremony before the game, and the first 800 fans attending will receive commemorative Woollard trading cards. In addition to leading the Brahmas in every major career offensive category, Woollard ranks fifth in the CHL in goals (295) and 15th in points (575). He has 14 goals and 13 assists this season."It's always tough losing one of the guys who's putting up big production, but I'm happy for him and his family," said Fort Worth coach and general manager Dan Wildfong.The Brahmas have risen to the top of the league in part because of their strength on the road, a facet that Wildfong has preached all season. The team has won nine of its past 10 road games to raise its road record to 13-11-0. Fort Worth leads the CHL with 29 victories and boasts a 16-4-5 home mark. During its current five-game streak, Fort Worth has outscored opponents 18-8.The run caps an impressive climb up the standings. After suffering a fourth consecutive defeat and sitting in last place Nov. 11, Fort Worth has risen steadily, moving past eight teams in three months. It has won 14 of its past 17 games."We're obviously trying to get to first place and win as many games as we can," Wildfong said. "We're trying to set ourselves up to win championships."
Allen at Brahmas
7:30 tonight, NYTEX Centre, North Richland Hills
Records: Allen 27-10-9, 63 pts.; Brahmas 29-15-5, 63 pts.
Notable: The first 800 fans attending will receive
Woollard trading cards.