What years were you with the Rhinos?
I was with the Rhinos during their Inaugural season in 2008 from September to December.
How did you become a Rhino?
I was in Michigan for the final tryout camp for the St. Louis Bandits of the NAHL when I was approached by Trevor Converse. Trevor spoke to me about a new franchise starting in some city called El Paso. Trevor described the program as if it was going to be run like an NHL franchise. Trevor explained that it would be a great opportunity for me and my career and sold me on the idea within 10 minutes.
Go back to when you were here. Describe the season or seasons in which you were here, how you felt, and what you experienced.
Although my time as a Rhino was short lived, I must say it was the best 4 months of my Junior career. Being a part of a brand new franchise, we set the standard for what Rhino hockey was going to be about for years to come. From the day we all arrived at the rink for the first day of training camp, we set out to be the best. The way Coach Herman prepared and coached us throughout the season was unlike any experience I have been a part of.
What is your most memorable moment as a Rhino?
My most memorable moment as a Rhino would have to be the first day that I met Coach Herman. When I first arrived in El Paso I had both of my ears pierced. I showed up to the rink for the first time to meet Coach Herman and the first words out of his mouth were not “Hello” or “Welcome to El Paso.” He simply starred at me and said, “If you want to play for this team, the diamond studs have to go.” And that’s the day I stopped wearing my studs.
What is one funny story about your time as a Rhino?
I will never forget the time my roomie Grady and I went out for chocolate milkshakes at McDonalds one night. Our billet, Cory, wanted one too so we went through the drive-thru so we could bring them back to the house. When we got back we all kind of looked at each other and agreed that something was wrong. We took the shakes back and turns out the employees mistakenly replaced the chocolate sauce with BBQ sauce. Classic mix up. I don’t think I have had a McDonalds shake since then.
Looking back, what do you miss the most?
This is a tough one. Playing for the Rhinos was one of the best times of my hockey career. Having said that, leaving the team in December was one of the tougher things I have had to do over the course of my career. Four months into any situation, you start to trust and feel comfortable with those around you. Then once you get to that level, it is very hard to just pack up and leave. I am definitely thankful for those I met and built relationships with during my time as a Rhino and it is those people who I truly miss. I owe a lot to my coaches, teammates, and fans and without a doubt my billets, The Heon Family.
Did you continue to play after your time with the Rhinos? And if so, where? Did you receive any awards?
After my time with the Rhinos, I went to play for their NAHL affiliate team, the Santa Fe/Topeka Roadrunners. From there, I was recruited to play Division-1 hockey for the University of Connecticut Huskies from 2008-2012 where I was voted Assistant Captain during my Senior season. Today I continue to live the dream playing in a local Beer League.
Is there anyone you that still keep in touch with in El Paso?
From time to time, I will get a Tweet or Facebook post from Grady Little about how he is still mad at me about an incident that occurred that we will not speak of on here. But other than that I have not heard from any of the boys in a long time. But I do miss them!
Where are you and what do you do now?
Since graduating from UCONN, I am living back in the Baltimore area where I work for Under Armour. I work in E-Commerce and I have been with the Brand for 10 months.
What is one last thing would like to go back and do one last time as a Rhino?
I would love to go back and get dressed in the Carnival tent one more time. It wasn’t the best set up in the league and I am sure other teams laughed at us when they came to play at our barn, but it added character and helped bring us closer together as a team. I think all the teams should start in the tent then work their way into the luxury locker room they have today. Earn it!