Thank you Brad

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Brad Voth

No goodbyes

From Gerad Adams

I have a very good friend back in Canada who refuses to say goodbye. We meet up, usually for breakfast, on the day of my flight home and he simply says, ‘See you later, G’.

No goodbyes. Goodbye is something you say to someone you may never see again.

It has been hard and emotional for a lot of people to see Brad Voth decide to retire. Especially the man himself. He has played his last game; made his last bone-crunching check; beat up his last opponent; scored his last goal. Upon Brad telling me his decision, I went through many phases:

Remorse - it shouldn’t end like this, Brad should skate off with a trophy in his hands.

Anger: an injury is no way to end a career.

Regret: I once took the captaincy off one of my good friends (I could have handled that situation better). Brad handled it like a pro.

Sadness: The Devils have lost a great player; the Coach lost one of his main players. THE player. I lost one of the greatest teammates you could have.

Finally, Happiness: to see the response he has had from everyone within the hockey community and more importantly here in Cardiff is what he deserves. As a mutual friend Brad and I have used to say about life after hockey, ‘They don’t chant your name around the water cooler.’

I know he will remember and relive his ovation on Sunday night. Over the past seven seasons, more than any player in the league, Brad Voth has had the loudest cheers and boos. He has deserved both. Brad portrayed many signs of a great player. A player you would love to have on your team and who was hated by other teams. A player who was chased to sign a contract by other teams every year. A player who stayed loyal to his club and coach. A player who was physical. A player who fought every tough guy this country had to offer. A player who scored goals. A player who was the face and the heart of our club.

The sign of a great player or person is to make everyone around you better. Brad made me a better person through being a great friend. Brad is reliable, true, and honest. He is a guy you know will be there if he is needed and will help in any way he can.

Brad made me a better coach through his loyalty and communication. I’m not sure I would still be a coach if he didn’t pull me aside a number of times in my first couple of years in charge. Brad made me believe in myself as a coach. I will never be able to repay the loyalty and commitment. Thanks, big man.

Our loss in Cardiff is another’s gain. Brad will be successful at whatever he does. I hope he gets on with the Fire Department in Calgary as soon as he gets back. I hope he sets his alarm clock and doesn’t sleep through one of his first shifts like he slept through one of his first training sessions with The Devils. The timing of Brad’s retirement has come unexpectedly, but so has he.

Who would have expected seven years ago that Brad Voth would be considered a legend in Cardiff? He IS a legend. Let the stories begin. I can hear them now - Brad was 8 feet tall and used to both score goals and fight with one hand.

The legend will grow and so will the stories.

See you later Vother.

G

 


 

Just Brad

From The Cardiff Devils

We hear them all the time: ‘He’s a legend.’ ‘It’s the end of an era.’

Truth is, in terms of the subjects these statements usually refer to, it’s a punch line people use. A simple way of elevating the status of a person (usually a sportsman) or event that really, truly, didn’t deserve such powerful prose.

Pundits and commentators, journalists and presenters all over the world eulogise about one athlete or another after what feels like 5 minutes of effort and a commitment only to the almighty Dollar, or Pound, or Euro depending on which badge they want to be kissing this week.

The clichés, too, are everywhere – ‘never be another like him, a one-off, broke the mould there, a character.’ And many more.

Now there is an argument that clichés are based in truth, which is why they ring true on so many occasions. But between throwing the word ‘Legend’ around with abandon and so many cliché-riddled editorials and monologues, it can often feel like the extraordinary – the truly remarkable and outstanding – well, that there aren’t enough words left to do them justice.

Of course our North American friends have a way round this; they make up their own words. Why bother saying a coach or player has the greatest winning record of all time when you can simply throw some syllables into a vice and create ‘Winningest’? It does a job but still, it’s diluting a major achievement from an outstanding individual into something an anchor can read and sound like he’s knowledgeable about ‘Sports’.

That’s where we have been very, very lucky in Cardiff. We had a man for whom superlatives deserved to be invented. For whom almost any descriptive word simply didn’t do enough justice.

We had one. A real life, honest-to-goodness, bona fide one living among us.

A Legend.

We had Brad Voth.

You want to talk about  clichés? No Problem. A Giant. A powerhouse. An Icon. A force of nature. Check, check, check and check. And more. Name virtually any adjective relating to toughness, intimidation, physicality or ferocity and Brad Voth would fit all of them, with ease. He’s the kind of person they were invented for. Oh, and he scored a bucket full of goals, too. No Cliches necessary - just Brad.

Legend? You bet. In terms of individual achievement, team leadership and value, commitment to his Club, his Coach and his Fans – he has peers within the Devils Pantheon but few equals. Some say none. In seven short years – oh how we wish there were more – Brad Voth became not only a Cardiff Devils Player, he evolved into more. He was The Cardiff Devils. No hype required. Just Brad.

No player is bigger than a club but Brad was big enough, strong enough, and LOYAL enough to carry one. An entire franchise on his back through times of extreme stress, through hard financial times and uncertainty. He carried – with dignity and humility mind you – the expectations of an entire Army on his back and did so with a smile. And an elbow. Or two. There has never been any need for hype with Brad. The truth has always been way more exciting.

By now we will have all had confirmed what many of us were hoping, that never again will the No. 26 jersey be worn by a Cardiff Devil. Proudly it will hang where it belongs, with the ‘Big four’ of the Heineken era and our lost friend Brian Dickson. The big Man’s jersey will proudly live with the biggest giant the Devils ever produced, and he was only 5’ 5”.

The big four just turned into a much bigger 5.

 

 


 

Passion for the game

From Chris Ellis

When I think of the Cardiff Devils, I think of Brad Voth. He has been the heartbeat of their side since 2005.

The word legend is overused in sport. It needs reserving for very few but Brad Voth is a Cardiff Devils legend.

Cardiff fans adored him. Opposing fans loved to hate him, while many, I think, would loved him to have played for their side.

I know I would've loved him to have played for the Panthers. I think he would've gone down a treat in Nottingham with his no-nonsense style, and he could play too.

I note from his stats that he scored in double figures in all but his first season with the Devils. Those statistics alone prove he was way more than an enforcer.

He was the face of the Devils, a leader, a warrior and someone who would lay his body on the line night after night after night.

I always looked forward to watching Voth in action, something always seemed to happen with him in the line-up, and I felt the game lacked a certain edge if he was not playing. 

I remember a game last season in the National Ice Centre, somewhere in the middle of Cardiff's outstanding winning run. The Devils produced an outstanding road performance led by Voth who seemed to hit everything that moved. 

I was very close to the action that night by the timekeepers bench and it just seemed that Voth was gong to make sure there was no way his Cardiff side would end up leaving the NIC with anything less than two points, and they duly won. 

He was also very approachable too and never turned down requests for interviews over the years. You could tell he had a great passion for the game and I am glad I got to see him play. Good luck for the future Brad.