Rhinos Anniversary

Join The Conversation

Mobile App



10/06/2009 12:25 PM -

CORPUS CHRISTI — For those wanting proof of hockey’s foothold in Corpus Christi, Zach Goller was exhibit A on the American Bank Center ice.

He grew up going to IceRays games and on Monday morning, found himself in training camp trying out for the team, making him the first product of the Corpus Christi Youth Hockey Association to do so.

“Things are just a lot quicker — everything is a lot more serious,” Goller said after his first on-ice session. “The passes are tape to tape and guys are going 110 miles per hour. It’s a big difference,”

Goller’s bid to make the roster is a long shot, as he’s one of nine forwards vying for three open spots. But the fact Goller was even skating among professionals bucked the odds as the CCYHA has never had year-round ice, even during hockey seasons. Despite those limitations, the King High School graduate fared well enough to play the past three seasons for the El Paso Rhinos, a junior A team in the Western States Hockey League.

“That (shows) that he’s determined to be a hockey player,” IceRays coach Brent Hughes said. “He’s got some natural talent and he’s prepared and done well with the junior team he was with. I don’t think anyone would expect a kid from Corpus to be trying out for a pro team.

“It just goes to show that hockey has taken in southern states and we’ve got a kid here from Austin (Mason Cossette), too. It’s great to see a kid from Corpus here who can skate with us in training camp.”

Goller, who turned 21 in May, was primarily a roller-hockey player before 1998, when the IceRays came to town. His father Cory got him some equipment and “I jumped on and never let it go.”

“It changed my life in a major way,” Goller said. “In my spare time, I come to hockey games and when I’m working, I’m thinking about hockey. I don’t know what I would’ve done after high school if I hadn’t gone to El Paso to play. The only reason I was able to go there was because I was able to progress here in Corpus growing up.

“Hockey is my life right now and I just wanted to progress as far as I could. All of my buddies stayed here in Corpus and I don’t want to be one of those guys to stay here and not do anything. I wanted to experience something new (in El Paso) and it was well worth it. I wouldn’t take it back for anything.”

With the IceRays slated to move back to Memorial Coliseum in the next couple of years, Goller said he hopes more local players will get the same opportunity he’s received.

“Going to the Coliseum and having ice year-round will make a big difference for local kids trying to come up in the youth game,” Goller said. “They’ll have a bigger advantage and can make something happen.”

Search Archive »

Browse by Year »


Browse by Month »

May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
June 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007