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 staff coached by Cory Herman has spent the 2020-21 season on the highway and not too long ago got here again to El Paso. The town’s rise in constructive COVID-19 circumstances pressured the staff to maneuver its coaching to Odessa and performed its first 11 video games in November and December on the highway.
The Rhinos gained two of its first three residence video games in opposition to the Texas Brahmas, and are taking part in 12 video games on the El Paso County Coliseum Occasions Middle earlier than going again on the highway 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 defend guys which are tremendous younger, that we all know we’re going to have for 3 years,” Herman mentioned. “We now have a aggressive staff and we’ve been in each recreation. The competitors is quite a bit 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 massive distinction for the Rhinos is the Occasions Middle.
The world not too long ago underwent a significant renovation, which included a brand new roof, insulation for the constructing, breezeways, new LED lights and new restrooms.
All of those enhancements had been a part of the successful prize cash the Rhinos acquired for Kraft Hockeyville. As well as, the staff changed the ice plant with a state-of-the-art system that freezes quicker and maintains the ice higher than the older system. Followers will discover the enhancements instantly once they enter the Occasions Middle and the world is noticeably colder than it has been previously.
The insulation will permit the Rhinos to maintain the ice floor in for 10 months out of the 12 months and the breezeways hold the chilly air from escaping through the hotter summer season months.
“It nonetheless has the texture of the barn, which we by no means ever need to take away from it,” Herman added. “It appears to be like actually, actually good. You’ll be able to actually inform the distinction within the temperature of the world with all of it sealed up actually good now. The ice is quite a bit 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 return.
Comply with the Rhinos at elpasorhinos.com or @El_Paso_Rhinos on Twitter and Instagram; @ElPasoRhinosHockey on Fb.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” from four to 7 p.m. weekdays on 600 ESPN El Paso. You’ll be able to electronic mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column seems periodically in El Paso Inc.’s B-Part.