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07/26/2013 6:36 AM -
What years were you with the Rhinos?
I was with the Rhinos during the 2010-11 and 2011-12seasons.
How did you become a Rhino?
After being cut from the Aberdeen Wings, Trevor Converse put me in touch with Cory. After speaking with both of them, I decided to move to El Paso.
Go back to when you were here. Describe the season or seasons in which you were here, how you felt, and what you experienced.
My first year in El Paso was awesome. The team continuously fought for every win and never gave up. As an older group, we were able to keep our heads in the game as well as get along with so many different personalities. We won the division for home ice in the Thorne Cup Championship game where we unfortunately lost to Idaho. We were then given the opportunity to avenge the loss when we played Idaho in the championship game. Though it was disappointing to lose in the last game, it was satisfying to finish second when we weren’t picked to win a game.
My second season was just as fun. With guys like Matt Tritsch and Mikey Rivera and other guys who always picked up the slack, we all knew what we wanted and how to get it done. We swept Boulder, which had never been done before. We also rolled through the first two rounds of the playoffs but ended up playing for third at home in the Thorne Cup Tournament. Although we felt like we had let the fans down, they made us feel as though we were playing for the title. The fans were my favorite part of El Paso. It was amazing to play for over a thousand fans that packed the arena every game. They were always into the games and supported us win or lose. The atmosphere in El Paso was amazing and it was an honor to play for the Rhinos and for Coach Herman.
What is your most memorable moment as a Rhino?
My most memorable moment was the national championship game against Idaho. We were the first Rhino team to make it past round robin and into the championship. After joining halfway through the season, it was nice to have such success with such a great team.
What is one funny story about your time as a Rhino?
In my second year, I remember playing against Fresno. The night before, we had beaten them in a shootout. The next night, one of the players had a breakaway and I stopped him. Torres, the announcer, says, “That’s one!” After I stopped a second breakaway, he says again, “That’s two!” Finally, upon stopping the third breakaway, Torres yells, “That’s three! You’re out!” Between baseball terms being called, “the ghost” or “Casper,” I have great memories of El Paso.
Looking back, what do you miss the most?
I miss junior hockey in general—the fans, waking up early, practice, the El Paso staff, and a nice small hockey community where you get to know everyone.
Did you continue to play after your time with the Rhinos? And if so, where? Did you receive any awards?
Due to a knee injury, I decided to preserve them and start coaching at my alma mater in Eagan, Minnesota.
Is there anyone you that still keep in touch with in El Paso?
I still keep in touch with quite a few fans and staff members, specifically Efran, Oscar, and Torres. I talk to Shane, Beasley, Ridgedell and I snapchat Benson. I get to see Balko fairly often as well.
Where are you and what do you do now?
I am currently a YMCA pre-school teacher and I also coach hockey.
What is one last thing would like to go back and do one last time as a Rhino?
I would definitely want to go back and beat Idaho in either the Thorne Cup or Championship game. Both of them were close, one goal games that we had the capability of winning.