The Fort Worth Brahmas left downtown Fort Worth six years ago in a dispute with the city over a basketball team that no longer exists.
Rebranded the Texas Brahmas, the organization set up shop in North Richland Hills and began a new legacy of success. The Brahmas made the playoffs the first four seasons after a one-year hiatus and captured the franchise's first championship in 2009.
Now they're coming back to Cowtown. The Brahmas have scheduled two games at the Fort Worth Convention Center on March 2-3, calling the games against Rio Grande Valley the "Fort Worth Face Off." It's a return home of sorts and a chance to reconnect with some old friends.
"I am very excited to be back in Fort Worth, even for just a weekend," Brahmas majority owner Stuart Fraser said. "Fort Worth is an awesome stage for the Brahmas to show their stuff."
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The Brahmas' history in Fort Worth has been an adventure. The team joined the WPHL in 1997, but lasted only one season. Andy Moog was granted a new franchise in 1998, and the Brahmas competed for local hockey affections with the Fort Worth Fire of the CHL.
Fort Worth wasn't about to support two minor-league hockey teams, with the Brahmas eventually winning the battle for loyalties. Fraser became involved with the Brahmas in 1998.
The arrival of the Fort Worth Flyers of the NBA Development League changed everything. The Brahmas and Fort Worth essentially broke up, as the hockey franchise couldn't book enough quality dates with the city at the Convention Center and Will Rogers Coliseum.
The Brahmas moved to the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills for 2007-08, with brothers Frank and Sal Trazzera joining the ownership group with Fraser and Moog.
After limited contact with Fort Worth city officials for five years, the Brahmas were asked if they would consider playing a few games at the Convention Center this season.
"There has not been a clamoring for the team to return to Fort Worth," Brahmas president Mike Barack said. "I believe they know we have become well established now in North Richland Hills, and that the team has also had tremendous on-ice success. However, there is a large group of hockey and Brahmas fans who will be excited about the team coming back for a few games."
The Brahmas have left open the possibility of returning to Fort Worth for selected games in future seasons.
"I would hope this leads to more games in Fort Worth for the Brahmas and greater exposure for the team overall," said Fraser, one of the longest-tenured owners in minor-league hockey. "I really believe this is a win-win for both Fort Worth and the Brahmas."