By Don Scott
The Providence Bruins will be back in Hershey this Saturday which means Brendan Woods will be returning to where he started his hockey career as a youngster.
The son of former Hershey Bears assistant coach Bob Woods, Brendan lived in Palmyra four years covering sixth grade through his freshman year of high school. He was drafted in 2012 by Carolina, spending five seasons with Charlotte and the last two in Utica, so he has had several trips back to the area since those early days.
“My career started here playing midget juniors two years before going to prep school, the USHL and then college,” he said about the start of his career. “This was my home for four years and during that time I joke that I won a Calder Cup when my dad was here, and I was a stick boy so when I come here it brings back a lot of good memories.”
A serious injury during the 2017-18 campaign limited him to just 14 games played, which forced him to learn about working through adversity again, after breaking his femur and dislocating a knee his first year in juniors that set him back in his draft year five years earlier.
“Thanks to my wife and parents, who really helped me battle through all that, I just kept working because my goal was to play pro hockey and I had to do whatever to come back,” Woods said.
“The upside for me was I do have seven games played with Carolina in the NHL, which was my ultimate goal, but now I’d like to do it again and get established to stay longer, ” Woods continued. “The injuries might have had some bearing on my staying in the NHL, but I feel it is not the end of the world and I’m still playing, making a living in a sport I love and you never know what can happen from here on.”
When questioned as to how he ended up in Providence this year Brendan replied, “Early this summer I got a call from Providence that said they were interested and to give them a chance before talking to any other teams and the fact they offered a two-year contract made it pretty hard to pass up. We have a lot of young guys here who are a big part of this organization’s future, so hopefully, we can do something special this season. I’m just trying to be a good leader for the younger guys so if my number got called to go up that would be great.”
He then pointed out that there is another person, not on the team but is a big part of it that also has long-standing ties to Palmyra in Dustin Stuck, son of Dan “Beaker” Stuck, long-time Hershey athletic trainer, who is a legend not only in Hershey, but throughout the hockey world.
“It’s funny we went to high school together and were stick boys together so that made it kind of cool to get back together and hang out on a daily basis,” said Woods. “He’s been a big help to me ever since I got here and I feel we’re very fortunate to have him as our athletic trainer.”