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Home | Tag Archives: rhino hockey

Tag Archives: rhino hockey

El Paso Rhinos to join the NA3HL, NAHL leagues

Officials with the El Paso Rhinos announced that the team will join the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) for the 2020-21 season.

Subsequently, starting in 2021-22, the Rhinos will have teams in both the NA3HL and the North American Hockey League (NAHL).

Over the past few seasons, the organization has considered moving up to the NAHL. In March, when the season was cut short due to COVID-19, the Rhinos’ ownership group decided to shift its focus entirely.

Rhino Head Coach Cory Herman explains, “Being in the NAHL has always been our goal. [The NAHL] brand, professionalism and level of play is where we want our program to be. Joining the NAHL and NA3 gives players two options and it helps our program grow.”

For the North American Hockey League, the El Paso’s unique hockey community has the tools, resources, and support necessary to help the league expand farther into the Southwest.

“We are excited to add a new team like El Paso to the NAHL footprint. We believe they have all the pieces in place for success, which includes great community support and involvement,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “The growth of hockey in the South has played a large role in our league’s success and the addition of the new team in El Paso continues to solidify the footprint and will create many new and exciting rivalries. With the addition of their NA3HL team, who will begin play in 2020-21, they have a great foundation for player development.”

The NA3HL is also looking forward to adding its 32nd team to the league. “We are excited to continue our growth in the South Division with the addition of the El Paso Rhinos,” said NA3HL Commissioner Blake MacNicol. “The Rhinos have an established organization with a focus on player development and advancement, along with a rich tradition of community outreach and support. I think the passionate fans of the El Paso Rhinos will enjoy the brand of hockey the NA3HL will bring and also the new rivalries that will be established.”

The NA3HL is one of two USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior leagues and the NAHL is the only USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier II Junior league. The primary goals of both the NA3HL and the NAHL are to adequately train players and provide resources—namely coaching, exposure and developmental vehicles—that will help them secure NCAA hockey scholarships.

Over the course of the last five seasons, over 1,500 NAHL players have made NCAA commitments and 30have been drafted into the NHL.
Herman is eager to introduce such a high caliber of talent to El Paso.

“The players in the NAHL are future NHL draft picks and Division I college hockey players. It’s very exciting for our program to have that level of hockey in El Paso.”

In 2020-21, the Rhinos will play in the NA3HL’s South Division of the where their opponent list will include teams from Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas.

Like the WSHL’s series and season format, three-game series will be played on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Rhinos also will play a 47-game regular-season, playoffs, and possibly in the FraserCup Championship Tournament, which crowns the NA3HL’s playoff champion.

Gallery+Story: El Paso Rhinos set to take on OKC Blazers in WSHL Division Final Series

The El Paso Rhinos continue their journey to defend their Thorne Cup title as they head into the Mid-Western Division final of the Western States Hockey League playoffs on home ice starting Friday night.

This weekend, the three-time champion Rhinos, in front of a possible record 22nd consecutive sellout crowd, will battle longtime rival Oklahoma City Blazers in a best-of-3 series at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center (4100 East Paisano.)

The Rhinos (42-8-3) shut out the Dallas Snipers this past weekend, winning two straight games, 11-0 and 3-0, to move into the final. Meanwhile, the Blazers (39-11-1) earned their spot after defeating the Northern Colorado Eagles, 2-3, 3-2 and 5-1.

The Rhinos have beat the Blazers three of their five matchups this season.

Game one is set for 7 p.m. Friday, March 29, followed by Game 2 at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 30. If a third game is necessary, it will take place at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 31. The winner moves on to the Thorne Cup Finals in Ogden, Utah, April 9-13.

Tickets start at $5 and are available at the El Paso County Coliseum Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, online and at the Coliseum Events Center Ticket Booth, which opens one hour before game time.

Free ticket vouchers also are available at several of the team sponsor locations, including Rudy’s Country Store and Bar-B-Q and Lube ’N Go.

Photo gallery by El Paso Herald Post Photographer Johnny Yturales

El Paso Rhinos Begin Chase for the Thorne Cup Friday Night vs. Dallas

It’s playoff time in the Western States Hockey League and, once again, the El Paso Rhinos are in contention to take the Thorne Cup once again.

Starting this Friday, the top-seeded Rhinos hope to start that journey in front of a record 20th consecutive sellout crowd as they face the Dallas Snipers in a best-of-3 playoff series at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center at 4100 East Paisano.

The Rhinos finished the regular season with a 40-8-3 record, placing them atop the Mid-Western Division, and securing the home-ice advantage in the divisional semifinals.

Dallas, 23-26-2, beat the Wichita Thunder in the play-in series to advance in the playoffs to face El Paso.  The Rhinos have beat the Snipers eight of their nine match-ups this season.

Friday’s game will feature the team’s 11th annual Teddy Bear Toss. Fans are asked to bring stuffed animals to toss onto the ice after the Rhinos’ first goal. The stuffed animals are then collected and donated to area children facing struggles and in crisis.

The players also will be wearing special teddy bear jerseys, which will be auctioned off for charity.

Game one is set for 7 p.m. Friday, March 22, followed by Game 2 at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 23. If a third game is necessary, it will take place at 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 24.

Tickets start at $5 and are available at the El Paso County Coliseum Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, online and at the Coliseum Events Center Ticket Booth, which opens one hour before game time.

El Paso Rhinos look to Close out Regular Season vs Wichita; Prepare for Playoffs

After a weekend series that had the El Paso Rhinos collect a 2-1 series win versus Oklahoma City,  improving their overall record to 34-8 on the season and securing home ice for the first round of the playoffs.

The Rhinos currently sit atop the Mid-Western Division and are the first seed going into their final home regular season series

For the final home series versus Wichita Thunder next weekend – March 8, 9, and 10 – the series will feature the annual St. Baldrick’s head shaving event where the players and the staff shave their heads to raise funds for childhood cancer research.

Each of the three games will also include our Jerseys Off Our Backs promotion, Hot Diggity Dog, Miller Lite Scorer of the Game, and as always, our Post-Game Skate with the Team.

The Rhinos look to push a three-game series win into the playoffs beginning March 22. For more information, visit the Rhino’s website.

Story in Many Pics: Thorne Cup – Long Beach Bests Rhinos 4-1

The Thorne Cup-hosting El Paso Rhinos played to a full house Wednesday night, as they took on the Long Beach Bombers in the cup nightcap.

The Bombers dropped one in early, but the Rhinos came right back and tied it up; however they weren’t able to keep pace with the Californian’s goals, dropping the first game 4 to 1

Our very own Andres Acosta was there and brings you his views of the game in this ‘Story in Many Pics’  (Video courtesy of Duke Keith & Black Dog Hockey)


Story in Many Pics: Rhinos Trounce Thunder 21-0

As the regular season starts to wind down, the red-hot El Paso Rhinos are on a roll and headed to the playoffs.  And the tickets for the WSHL Playoffs, which the Rhinos are hosting, are now on sale.

Friday night, in the first game of their three game series against the Wichita Jr. Thunder, the Rhinos dominated, winning 21-0.

Our very own Andres Acosta was there and brings you his view of the game via this ‘Story in Many Pics’

Rhinos vs Thunder, March 2nd, 2018

El Paso Rhinos Announce New GM

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.

Story in Many Pics: Rhinos Trounce Tulsa 12-1; Sweep Home Series

With only two series left to go in the regular season, the Rhinos ramped up their play this weekend, dominating the Tulsa Oilers and sweeping the series at home.

Andres Acosta was there and brings you this view of Sunday’s game via this ‘Story in Many Pics.’

Tulsa Oilers vs El Paso Rhinos, El Paso Texas
Tulsa Oilers vs El Paso Rhinos, El Paso Texas
Tulsa Oilers vs El Paso Rhinos, El Paso Texas
Tulsa Oilers vs El Paso Rhinos, El Paso Texas

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 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.

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.

Author: Tyler Deloach

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