Defending Thorne Cup Champion Rhinos begin quest for 4th Cup Tuesday in Utah

After winning the Mid-Western Division in the Western States Hockey League playoffs last month, the El Paso Rhinos will once again defend their title as they head to the Weber County Ice Sheet in Ogden, Utah, for the 2019 Thorne Cup Finals.

The Rhinos earned their place in the finals after sweeping their longtime rival Oklahoma City Blazers 3-2 and 6-0, on home ice at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center in front of a record 22nd and 23rd consecutive sellout crowd on March 29-30.

This week, the three-time Thorne Cup champion Rhinos will open with a battle against the Northwest Division champion Bellingham Blazers at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 9.

El Paso will then take the ice at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, April 10, against Western Division winner Long Beach Bombers, followed by a third game at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 11, against the host team and Mountain Division champion Ogden Mustangs.

The six teams in the finals are separated into two three-team flights, playing a modified round-robin tournament format. The four teams with the highest point totals advance to the semifinals on Friday, April 12.

The semifinal winners then earn a spot in the championship game on Saturday, April 13. Games can be viewed online

El Paso has previously won the Thorne Cup in 2008, 2014 and 2018.