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'El Paso Rhinos'
Elpasorhinos logo
City: El Paso, Texas
League: WSHL
Division: Midwest
Founded: 2006
Home Arena: Sierra Providence Events Center
Colors: Orange, white, black and grey
General Manager: Flag of Canada.svg Cory Herman
Head Coach: Flag of Canada.svg Cory Herman
Captain: Flag of the United States Austin Balko
Media: B2 Networks (Internet), TWC Metrosports Southwest (Television)
Franchise history
2006 - Present: El Paso Rhinos
Championships
Division Championships: 2008-09, 2007-08, 2006-07
Conference Championships: 2008 Thorne Cup

The El Paso Rhinos are a Junior "A" Tier III ice hockey team, based in El Paso, Texas. The Rhinos compete as part of the Mid-West Conference of the Western States Hockey League (WSHL) and are the defending Conference Champions. Their home games are played at the Sierra Providence Event Center located within the El Paso County Coliseum complex.

Team History Edit

The Rhinos were founded in 2006 by Cory Herman, a retired former El Paso Buzzards professional hockey player[1]. The Buzzards had ceased operations in 2003 and Herman wanted to bring Ice Hockey back to the city of El Paso. The team began their first season as a Junior "B" Hockey Team and became a Junior "A" team just before the start of the 2007-08 season[2]. The Rhinos youth hockey program also has teams from mini-mites to midget major AA. The Rhinos Organization has an affiliation to the Fairbanks Ice Dogs of the NAHL[3].

The Rhinos presence in El Paso has been nothing short of a success. They have consistently set and shattered league records. In 2007-08 they led the league in attendance [4][5] a trend that has continued into the 2008-09 season. They have also ended each of their seasons with players at the top of the WSHL leaderboards. [6][7]

2006-07 Season (Junior B) Edit

The El Paso Rhinos inaugural season saw them clinch the WSHL Midwest Division Title and finishing in second place with a record of 40-6-1[8]. Two of the team's players Willhite (RW) and Jendras (F) were in the league's top ten scoring leaders[9]. Goaltender Brennan was ranked third amongst the league's goalies with a GAA of 2.72[10].

2007-08 Season (Junior A) Edit

Elpasorhinos 2008

2007-08 WSHL Thorne Cup Champions, El Paso Rhinos

The Rhinos had a hard fought season that culminated at the WSHL finals. They finished up the season with a record of 48-1-2[11]. After winning 6 straight games in the playoffs [12] the team captured the Thorne Cup and became Champions of the WSHL in March 2008[13]. Goaltender Natali closed his season with a #3 ranking in the WSHL with a GAA of 1.99[14]. While Willhite (RW) and Kohn (RW) wrapped up in the league's scoring leader top ten[15]. The team represented the WSHL at the National Tournament winning 2 of 3 games, but losing to the National Champions from New Hampshire.

2008-09 Season (Junior A) Edit

Sierraprovidenceeventscenter

Sierra Providence Events Center. El Paso Rhinos Home Ice, prior to Game 2 of the 2008-09 WSHL Finals

With several Rhinos returning to the team for the 2008-09 season as well as new acquisitions joining the team; the defending Thorne Cup Champions kicked off with a win against the Colorado Outlaws. This win set the stage for the rest of the season which saw unparalleled success. The team registered multiple shutouts against every team in their division[16]. The Rhinos finished the regular season with an impressive record of 45-3-1, not only leading the Mid-West division in points (91) and wins, but the entire WSHL as well[17]. They secured home ice advantage for the 2009 WSHL playoffs.

The Rhinos performance in the playoffs was excellent, they swept the Colorado Outlaws and the San Antonio Diablos to become the Mid-West Division Champions for a third straight season. In a rematch of the last two Thorne Cup Finals, the Rhinos faced off against the Phoenix Polar Bears to defend their championship. Despite a great effort by the Rhinos, they lost in the finals without garnering a win. They were one of the two teams who represented the WSHL at the Junior A Nationals. At the close of the 08-09 season the Rhinos finished 1st in their division and 2nd in the WSHL overall.

2009-10 Season (Junior A) Edit

The Rhinos regular season kicked off while on the road with a 2-1 series win over the Boulder Bison[18][19][20]. Early season momentum was definitely in effect for the Rhinos' second week where they swept the San Antonio Diablos 3-0. Aside from the team's offense stepping up their gameplay significantly, Andrew Duff (G) notched his first shutout of the season[21][22][23]. In their series against the Tulsa Rampage, Max Dizgun (G) earned his first shutout by blocking all 19 shots faced.[24][25]. Nick Gualano (RW) set a new franchise record by scoring an impressive 6 goals in the third game of the series which ended in an 11-0 victory for the Rhinos. The Rhinos captured the division's top rank, coincidentally a rank held by the Rampage since the season's start[26]. The "Rhino Charge" would continue through the next series in Week 5 against their soon-to-be rivals the New Mexico Renegades. Max Dizgun (G) notched his second shutout of the season in the team's first meeting with the Renegades. The Rhinos went on to sweep all 3 games against the Renegades, Erik Carvajal scored a career high 7 goals in 3 games.He later got injured and was forced to retire.[27]

Following a successful test run during the '08-'09 playoffs the team announced on April 28, 2009 that a television deal was signed with Time Warner Cable. All of this season's home games will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis by Metrosports.[28] The Rhinos' were victorious in their home opener against the Boulder Bison at the Sierra Providence Events Center in late October. They extended their winning streak to 12 straight games, however the streak would not last as the Bison won the second game of the series. The loss would not go unanswered as the Rhinos finished out the week with a second win over Boulder, a game in which David Fegler scored a hat trick.[29][30][31]

A second meeting against the Renegades took place in Week 7 of the regular season. Just as they had during their first series against New Mexico, the Rhinos swept all three games again[32]. This series was unique in that the first game of the series was played at home in El Paso, where they unveiled special Halloween jerseys (auctioned off for charity); while the 2 remaining games were played in New Mexico, with the booster club joining them on the road for the Saturday game. The team will continue their road trip this weekend when they face off against Boulder.

Community Outreach Edit

The Rhinos frequently wear specialized jerseys on the ice and auction them off to help raise funds for local and/or charitable causes. They have raised money for causes including, but not limited to: Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Special Olympics, and local youth hockey. The Rhinos also receive strong mutual support from the U.S. Military stationed at nearby Fort Bliss. The Rhinos not only host Military Appreciation nights, but they also give free admission (courtesy of a local sponsor) to all Military personnel and their families.

Coach Herman was approached by Karrie Kern the CEO of the U.S. Branch of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, after seeing the team's bus in San Antonio, Texas. During their conversation she told him the story of an orphaned rhinoceros in Zimbabwe named Tatenda, and jokingly suggested the team adopt her as their mascot. The Rhinos organization thought this was a great idea and so in November 2008 the team adopted Tatenda.

External links Edit

http://www.elpasorhinos.com/ - Official Team Website </br> http://www.wshlhockey.org/ - Official League Website </br> http://www.elpasohockey.org/ - El Paso Hockey Association</br>

Footnotes Edit

  1. http://www.elpasotimes.com/rhinosmania/ci_4362510
  2. http://elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=7
  3. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/team/affiliates/
  4. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/attendance.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=1435
  5. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/attendance.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=2143
  6. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/scoringleaders.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=1435
  7. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/goalieleaders.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=1435
  8. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/standings.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=1435
  9. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/scoringleaders.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=1435
  10. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/goalieleaders.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=1435
  11. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/standings.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=2143
  12. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/playoffstandings.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=1704
  13. http://elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=84
  14. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/goalieleaders.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=2143
  15. http://www.pointstreak.com/prostats/scoringleaders.html?leagueid=369&seasonid=2143
  16. http://stats.wshl.timetoscore.com/display-schedule.php?team=13&season=13&tlev=0&tseq=0&league=1
  17. http://stats.wshl.timetoscore.com/
  18. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=233
  19. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=231
  20. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=237
  21. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=246
  22. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=248
  23. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=250
  24. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=257
  25. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=260
  26. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=262
  27. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=276
  28. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=193
  29. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=291
  30. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=293
  31. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=294
  32. http://www.elpasorhinos.com/news/recent/index.html?article_id=302

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