Wednesday the El Paso Rhinos announced the hiring of Corey Heon as the Rhinos’ new general manager.
Making the jump from a parent and volunteer to a general manager was prompted by the Canada native’s desire to expand El Paso’s only ice hockey program. “It’s a great opportunity to help the program grow into something bigger and better. I’ve always been a part of the organization in some way or another and it was time to make it official,” Heon said.
As the general manager, Heon’s goals are to simply improve an already successful program. More specifically, he hopes to help develop young hockey players and new coaches and in turn, give back to the community that made his final two years as a player so memorable.
Head Coach Cory Herman and General Manager Corey Heon have known each other for over 20 years, playing against each other in Midget and Collegiate Hockey and then later playing for the El Paso Buzzards. Heon has long been involved with the El Paso Hockey Association as a referee, coach and color commentator.
Overseeing game operations and coaching development for the Rhinos and the El Paso Hockey Association, Heon will add decades of hockey knowledge and management experience to the Rhinos’ front office staff.
Growing up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Heon started playing hockey at the age of 4. His father, who played for the Notre Dame Hounds in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL), wanted him to continue the tradition of playing hockey. The forward went on to play Midget AAA for the Calgary North Stars where he helped his team win the Air Canada Cup in 1992.
Additionally, he was named a First- Team Alberta Midget Hockey League All-Star and a First-Team All-Star at Mac’s Midget AAA Tournament. Between 1992 and 1995, Heon joined the Humboldt Broncos where he was named in League All-Star during the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.
Heon then continued his hockey career at the collegiate level, playing two years for the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) Trojans in Calgary, AB. During his second year of college hockey, SAIT earned the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) National Runner-up title in 1997.
Despite not clenching the championship title, Heon was the League’s top goal scorer and earned a spot on the First Team All-Conference. He then moved up to the semi- professional ranks in 1997 when he began playing for the El Paso Buzzards.
In the first of his two seasons with the Sun City’s hockey team, Heon and the Buzzards became the Inaugural Season Champions and President Cup Champions. After one more season with the Buzzards, Heon hung up his skates due to injuries and began working for the El Paso County Coliseum, overseeing Buzzard games.
In 2015, he was named the NMIIHL Coach of the year when the Franklin Cougars earned the NMIIHL State Championship title.
Heon currently coaches the Peewee Selects, the team on which his daughter Camryn plays.
Staff Report December 6, 2015SportsComments Off on Rhinos take out Snipers 6-3; Beaudet nabs hat trick
Connor Beaudet scored a hat trick and assisted on two more goals as the El Paso Rhinos doubled up the Dallas Snipers, 6-3, in front of a near-sellout crowd at the El Paso County Events Center Sunday afternoon.
Once again, the Rhinos were forced to play from behind as Dallas defenseman Daniel Nordlander scored his third goal of the weekend just1:03 into the game.
But with 1:04 left in the first, Beaudet won a draw against Zach Black at left circle, pushed his way past Black and roofed his shot from just outside the crease over Brady Weiss’ left shoulder to tie the game on the power play.
Brennan Johnson’s power play blast from the blue line was tipped by Robert Fogarty at 2:12 of the second frame to give the hosts a 2-1 lead, which lasted most of the period. But a wild finish saw Dallas and El Paso trade four goals over the final six minutes, including two with less than a minute to play.
The Snipers equalized on Michael Tugo’s beautiful top shelf strike at 14:04. The Rhinos answered at 16:54 on Beaudet’s unassisted effort to make it 3-2, but Dallas’ Peter Kutlak scored a goal nearly identical to Tugo’s at 19:20 to tie the game again.
However, Petr Ceslik gave El Paso the final say, as the Czech forward scored what proved to be the game-winning goal with just 14 seconds left to give the home team a 4-3 advantage going into the final period.
In the third, the Rhinos gave themselves a cushion as Ceslik scored again. Losing his marker just inside the blue line, Ceslik had room to pick his spot and drove his shot just over Weiss’ glove at 9:49, followed by Beaudet’s hat trick goal at 18:08.
El Paso improves to 6-11-0-1, dropping the Snipers to 10-13-0-1. The Rhinos’ 13 points puts them within eight points of fifth place Dallas headed into the second half of its six-game homestand against the Tulsa Junior Oilers next weekend.
For tickets and information, contact the Rhinos’ front office at 915/479.PUCK (7825), or go to www.elpasorhinos.com. El Paso and Tulsa face off at 7:30 p.m.Friday and Saturday, Dec. 11 and 12, and at 4:30 p.m.Sunday, Dec. 13.
Staff Report November 29, 2015SportsComments Off on Rhinos snap losing streak in Wichita, return to El Paso Friday
Despite struggling offensively in the first two games in Wichita, the Rhinos notched six goals in the final game of the series to stave off a third straight sweep.
Over the past few weeks, El Paso has fallen short of winning ten times. The Rhinos’ last two wins were in October against the Thunder. Improving with each game in the most recent match up, the Rhinos were finally able to secure a decisive win over a competitive team on Sunday.
Friday night’s game got off to a good start for the Rhinos when Jonah Pearson posted the first goal of the night. Through the second, El Paso netminder Nikifor Mukharev only allowed 2 goals. Wichita, however, capitalized on power plays and scored four third period goals. Even with Brennan Johnsson’s goal near the middle of the third, El Paso couldn’t overcome the penalties and eventually fell to the Thunder with a final score of 6-2.
Wichita opened the second game’s scoring when Peter Cicmanec scored the first of the night. With defenseman Austin Grawbarger returning to the lineup after serving a five game suspension for head contact, El Paso, was able to hold Wichita to only one goal for the next 38 minutes. Recent acquisition Connor Beaudet evened the game when he put the Rhinos on the board at the end of the second.
Marc Zajic’s first third period goal gave the Thunder the lead and a final power play goal clenched the win and the series for Wichita. Despite half the number of penalty minutes as the previous game and Buttazzoni’s save percentage of 90%, the Rhinos couldn’t secure the victory.
In game three, however, the typical Rhino team with a powerful offense and a strong defensive core took the ice. Brandyn Fogarty’s first period goal was quickly followed by one from Kyle Keeder. Captain Joel Gellvear, who was in El Paso for a short period of time last season, answered for Wichita.
Even with two more goals for the Thunder late in the third, Connor Beaudet’s hat trick gave the Rhinos an unbreakable lead. Facing 39 shots, Ryan Buttazzoni was able to make 36 saves and earn his fourth win of the season.
The Rhinos return to the Sun City this weekend to take on the Dallas Snipers for Military Weekend. All active military, veterans, and dependents receive free admission with valid IDs. The puck drops on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 pm and 4:30 pm on Sunday. To keep up with this series and every series, download the Official Rhinos Mobile App.