Former Captain Returns as Assistant Coach
“Once a Rhino, always a Rhino” is a statement that holds true for Garrett Poland, a former El Paso forward and team captain who has recently been named assistant coach.
During his days on the ice, the former left wing only needed one year to gain enough confidence from Cory Herman before the head coach allowed him to don the “C.” His work ethic and motivation set him apart from his teammates, making him a brilliant and successful leader. Guiding the 2010-11 team to a Midwest Conference title, Poland built on this success when he steered El Paso to a second place finish in the National Tournament.
With Poland’s success as a Rhino, it was definitely warranted when Herman invited him to return to the franchise in a different capacity. The twenty-three year old took the opportunity as a way to remain involved in the sport. “Little did I know,” Poland adds, “I would be learning so much about the program.”
Like the players, Garrett too wishes to secure the Division title as well as hoist the Thorne Cup. However, Poland is looking further. “I want to win the National Tournament title that I did not win as a player.” With such great ambition, the former Rhino’s experience has him planning the means by which the team will attempt to attain those goals. Working with the defensive core this season, he intends to keep the goals against average under two per game. On the offensive end, Poland vows to put the team in a position to win every competition. “There have been lots of late hours behind the computer, watching other teams and finding different ways to beat our opponents.”
As a former player, Garrett is determined to perpetuate the franchise’s philosophy that nothing is given to a player; he must work for it. Having abided by this philosophy during his time on the ice, he understands the value of hard work and making the most of certain advantages. “I think young players need to have a tireless work ethic. We have so many opportunities in El Paso and they just need to take the initiative to get better.”
In every way, Poland is an asset to the coaching staff. His age and experience make him a relatable resource. His willingness to extend help and his eagerness to succeed has and will continue to amount to success. Poland’s strengths in combination with those of an experienced head coach and a talented team prophesy a promising season for the Rhinos.