For the primary time in practically a 12 months, the El Paso Rhinos can take pleasure in a return to their residence ice.
The junior hockey group coached by Cory Herman has spent the 2020-21 season on the street and just lately got here again to El Paso. Town’s rise in optimistic COVID-19 instances compelled the group to maneuver its coaching to Odessa and performed its first 11 video games in November and December on the street.
The Rhinos received two of its first three residence video games in opposition to the Texas Brahmas, and are enjoying 12 video games on the El Paso County Coliseum Occasions Middle earlier than going again on the street subsequent month.
After debuting in 2006 within the Western States Hockey League, the Rhinos moved after 14 seasons to the North American Hockey League. El Paso will spend the 2020-21 marketing campaign within the decrease developmental NA3HL earlier than shifting as much as the NAHL for the 2021-22 season.
“We’re beginning to shield guys which might be tremendous younger, that we all know we’re going to have for 3 years,” Herman stated. “We’ve a aggressive group and we’ve been in each recreation. The competitors is rather a lot higher and the mannequin of the North American Hockey League is unbelievable. It’s superb what number of good American hockey gamers are on the market.”
One huge distinction for the Rhinos is the Occasions Middle.
The sector just lately underwent a serious renovation, which included a brand new roof, insulation for the constructing, breezeways, new LED lights and new restrooms.
All of those enhancements have been a part of the profitable prize cash the Rhinos obtained for Kraft Hockeyville. As well as, the group changed the ice plant with a state-of-the-art system that freezes sooner and maintains the ice higher than the older system. Followers will discover the enhancements instantly after they enter the Occasions Middle and the sector is noticeably colder than it has been prior to now.
The insulation will permit the Rhinos to maintain the ice floor in for 10 months out of the 12 months and the breezeways preserve the chilly air from escaping throughout the hotter summer season months.
“It nonetheless has the texture of the barn, which we by no means ever wish to take away from it,” Herman added. “It seems to be actually, actually good. You may actually inform the distinction within the temperature of the sector with all of it sealed up actually good now. The ice is rather a lot higher. It’s fairly unbelievable.”
For now, the Rhinos are permitting season ticket holders into its residence video games, however hope to broaden seating within the weeks and months to come back.
Observe the Rhinos at elpasorhinos.com or @El_Paso_Rhinos on Twitter and Instagram; @ElPasoRhinosHockey on Fb.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays on 600 ESPN El Paso. You may e mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column seems periodically in El Paso Inc.’s B-Part.