(Courtesy of the Fort Worth Brahmas) Fort Worth- The Fort Worth Brahmas continued to build their roster on Monday afternoon with the signing of defenseman Greg Willers to a contract for the 2005-2006 CHL season.
Willers, 61, 203, will come to Fort Worth with six years of professional experience under his belt. Last season, he skated with the Varese HC club in the Italian Series A league, a team that included NHL player Jason Chimera of the Edmonton Oilers. With Varese last year, Willers totaled 5 goals and 10 assists for a total of 15 points in 36 games.
The 2004-2005 season was the second of back-to-back seasons in Europe for Willers. During the 2003-2004 season he played for the Clermont club in France.
Before heading overseas, Willers played three full seasons of pro hockey in the United States. In his full rookie season of 2000-2001, he split time with the Mississippi Sea Wolves and Pensacola Ice Pilots of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL). After beginning the 2001-2002 campaign with the New Orleans Brass of the ECHL, Willers moved to the CHL with the Austin Ice Bats. He played in 63 regular season games for the Bats that season, contributing mightily to the Ice Bats Southeast Division winning team with a career best 16 goals, 28 assists and 44 points. In the 2002 Presidents Cup playoffs, Willers helped lead the Ice Bats to the Presidents Cup Finals against the Memphis RiverKings as he tallied 4 goals and 5 assists in 15 Austin playoff games.
The Aurora, Ontario native spent the 2002-2003 season with the Odessa Jackalopes of the CHL. He continued his offensive production with the Jacks, piling up 40 points (12G/28A) in 63 regular season games.
Willers, who originally turned pro in the spring of 2000 with the Greensboro Generals of the ECHL, is a product of the Ontario Hockey League. He played four full seasons of major junior hockey in the OHL, skating for three teamsthe Kingston Frontenacs, the Sarnia Sting, and the Oshawa Generals. His best season of junior hockey came in 1998-1999 when he piled up 54 points (16G/38A) for the Sarnia Sting. Another major highlight for Willers during his junior career came in the summer of 1997 when he was selected by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft (Round #9, 239th overall).
Brahmas head coach Al Sims is enthused about the offensive abilities that Willers should bring to his club.
Make no mistake about it, Greg is a player who can score from the blueline, and most importantly, help quarterback our powerplay. Hes got a ton of offensive skills, and I anticipate him being a major contributor to our team, Sims stated.
Willers, who was in Fort Worth today to sign his contract, is looking forward to returning to the CHL and to competing for the Brahmas.
In my opinion, the Brahmas organization, and the entire CHL, is on the way up. When I decided that I wanted to return to North America and play, Fort Worth was one of the teams that I focused on. Al Sims is a highly respected coach, the city of Fort Worth is amazing, and the Brahmas have outstanding fan support. Im looking forward to this season, he said.
With the addition of Willers, the Brahmas now have five players under contract for the upcoming season. Defensemen Konrad Brand, Vladimir Hartinger, Ryan Branham, as well as goaltender Larry Sterling, all agreed to contract terms with the Brahmas earlier this off-season. With 251 regular season professional games to his credit, Willers qualifies as a developmental player in the CHL. Hartinger is the only Brahmas signee who has CHL veteran status with more than 260 regular season professional games played. Each CHL member team is allowed just four veteran players on their active roster.