For the second time in three seasons, the El Paso Rhinos franchise has been designated as the host for the Thorne Cup.
Named after Dr. Don Thorne, the founder of the WSHL, the Thorne Cup has witnessed twenty years of fast, hard-hitting hockey. Although the trophy was only vied for by six teams in the league's inaugural season, 24 teams are currently competing to earn a trip to El Paso, Texas.
The Rhinos last hosted the finals in 2012 where they were knocked out of the championship game by the Dallas Ice Jets who would go on to lose to the defending champions, the Idaho Steelheads. As back to back champions, the Steelheads hosted the 2013 Thorne Cup in McCall, Idaho. The Rhinos clenched their division title and traveled to the Gem State where they lost to the Bay Area Seals in the semifinals.
Ready to lift the Thorne Cup for the first time since the 2007-2008 season, the Rhinos are looking forward to having home ice advantage for the culminating event of the WSHL season. Head Coach Cory Herman is also looking forward to the competition, "It's a great event. Anytime you can have the six best teams in the league at one time you will see some great hockey."
With the dates set for April 2 through April 6, El Paso will start preparing to welcome teams from across the Western United States. Eagerly awaiting the spring, Herman and the franchise are pleased to accommodate WSHL teams and officials, "It is an honor to be able to host the Thorne Cup again. It is great for our team, organization and the city of El Paso."
A student at Georgetown University, Tyler Deloach writes for the El Paso Rhinos from the nation's capital. Becoming a hockey fan at a young age, she now aspires to work within the sport.