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'Round the Horn

05/10/2011 5:33 PM -

‘Round the Horn

I think sometimes players and maybe people on the outside have the wrong impression of our team.  We hear the comment a lot of our players are being spoiled and they get to experience the “country club” lifestyle in El Paso.

The players here do receive a lot and they are treated really well, but this doesn’t come without it’s own price.

Our players earn their place on this team, they pay a “price” beyond their player fees.

They are expected to act like upstanding young men: stay out of trouble, work hard, be a good citizen and contribute to the community.

People don’t see the countless hours of volunteer work they do.

Our players volunteer their time in the youth hockey program, coaching youth players of all ages, they help with school field trips to the ice rink that are a daily occurrence.

Six players last season volunteered their time once a week to mentor 8 troubled kids at a local elementary school.  The teachers and principal could not believe the difference they made in these young boys.  They started behaving, getting better grades, and became more respectful. I personally went to visit one day and witness the remarkable job they did with these kids.

Players also volunteer with the youth services program on Fort Bliss, coaching youth soccer and basketball, they go to grade schools and read to kids, they’ve helped with the Miracle League’s “Field of Dreams” with the kids there, I could go on citing more examples but the point is we treat our boys well but they are expected to hold up their end of the deal as well.

You could say that playing in El Paso is more like a job.  We practice more than any team, players arrive at the arena at 6:30 am, we practice at least 2 hours a day, and they also train at the training center for at least 2 hours a day in the evenings.

Every year we will have a couple of players that forget their end of the deal and inevitably they’re released, traded or at least disciplined depending on the infraction.  

I think a lot of people on the outside see the sugar coating but don’t see the hard work our players do every day.

Sure they get new Reebok equipment every year, and they’ve got Xbox, direct tv in the bus etc, and we try and provide the top equipment, training and environment for our players because we want them to become the best player they can be, for themselves and their future, and for our success as a team and organization. We’ve been using this philosophy since day 1 and we feel we’re moving in the right direction.

Our goal every year is to win a National Championship, and we can only to strive for that each and every year and we want players that buy into the same mindset we have as an organization.  Being a Rhino is tough but we believe by creating this atmosphere we will not only prepare players for the next level in hockey but also life outside of hockey.