Cory Herman began playing hockey as a child with his brother in Duvall, Saskatchewan Canada where his father took care of an ice rink. Cory began his hockey career playing Forward in junior hockey leagues and at the University of Regina in Canada. In 1999, he arrived in El Paso as a professional player with the El Paso Buzzards. He played only one season with the Buzzards and by 2003, the Buzzards had ceased operations. In the meantime, Cory and his brother Tom had worked to create a youth hockey program for kids in El Paso.
After years of coaching youth hockey, Cory wanted to create a program that would allow the youth he was coaching to reach the next step in their hockey careers. In 2006, he founded the El Paso Rhinos junior hockey team, an amateur team intended to help youth players develop and reach higher levels of hockey, including NCAA. We wanted to create something that would show players what they needed to do to make it to the NCAA, he explains. These guys are 18,19,20, says Cory, Theyre chasing their dream.
When the Buzzards stopped playing, fans missed having a home team and were waiting for hockey to come back to El Paso. But the Rhinos did not just bring hockey back, they brought winning hockey. With experience only coaching youth hockey, Cory led the team to a winning record in its very first year. In 2008, only the teams second year, the Rhinos made it all the way to the Western States Hockey League Championship, where they defeated the Phoenix Polar Bears and won the 2008 Thorne Cup. This early success was unprecedented for the team from El Paso. By his third year as head coach, Cory had already amassed 150 victories.
Despite his success and his track record as a great coach, Cory has no plans to leave the Rhinos any time soon. As the head coach, founder, and the owner of the Rhinos, he says he wants to keep building and see the program continue to grow and develop. It is clear how important the Rhinos are to him, but he has also never stopped caring about youth hockey. He continues to work with the youth hockey program he started back in 2001 and hopes that one day, players from the youth hockey teams in El Paso will be good enough to play on the Rhinos.