Created: 05/14/2014 10:56 PM KAALtv.com
By: John Doetkott
(ABC 6 News) -- This past weekend the Austin Bruins competed for the NAHL national championship.
They lost, but the city's support never wavered.
And on Wednesday night, hundreds of fans came out at Riverside Arena to welcome the Bruins back to Austin.
Their run to the championship was the furthest the franchise has ever gotten, and that feat wasn't lost on the players or the fans.
"[There’s] a lot to be happy about, can't ask for much more,” said forward Trey Dodd. “Definitely proud to be part of the organization, as I'm sure everybody on the team is.”
"It's great to have something to go out and see in the middle of winter, a hockey team, a championship caliber hockey team now,” said Austin Mayor Tom Stiehm, who proclaimed Wednesday as Austin Bruins Day. “I think people love it, and it's good, it's great for the city."
The defeat in the championship series was ultimately disappointing, but the players said they wouldn't trade the experience for the world.
"It's been a crazy year, definitely one of the best years of hockey of my life,” said forward Brian Bachnak. “Got to love all the guys and the coaching staff, and it's just been probably the best year of my life."
A majority of the players will be playing elsewhere next season, but coaches said this team will always have a special bond.
"We had a great run, it was a lot of fun, the guys were awesome and they worked,” said head coach Chris Tok. “When you know that they're going to come out and work hard and give you an effort, you can stand behind the bench and be proud of that. And we're extremely proud of this crew."