The 6’5 Alaska native will be one of the few veterans on the 2014-2015 roster as last season saw 15 players age out. With the added pressure of no longer being a rookie, Herz is not worried about his now inherent leadership role. “I think the best way to lead is by example. I know you have to show up and work hard every day. There’s no such thing as a day off. You have to be prepared for every practice and every game and always have a positive attitude.”
Understanding that topping the best season in franchise history will be no easy task, Herz still isn’t daunted. “It’s exciting knowing that we, as a core group of returners, have such big shoes to fill.” He has tried to maintain the high level of play last season brought by attending Tier II tryout camps and skating with St. Mary’s University signee and former Rhino defenseman, Chris Wilhite. “You have to focus on the things you can control,” he notes. “I’m working hard in the off season, skating, working out, maintaining good nutrition, and just trying to stay focused on being ready to play at a high level when the season begins.”
While the defenseman played just under half the season, Herz is ready to capitalize on his strengths to earn more ice time this year. “I am reliable in my own end, first. I’m a physical player especially in the D-zone. I’m a blue collar kind of player, nothing fancy, nothing flashy, just good hard, gritty work.” Herz was also able to show some offensive talent with nine points in his 23 games last season, although he describes himself as a defensive defenseman.
Ready to begin the next season in Texas, Eliot’s faith in the franchise made it easier to return. “Cory is a great coach who pushes all of his players and gets everything out of them. I know [he] will bring in a solid group of players and we’ll be prepared to make another strong run next postseason.” Knowing the system the style of play, Herz explains, “I love playing on a team where every practice feels like a game and everyone is battling for a spot in the lineup. El Paso is just a great place to play.”
Despite being eager to return to the Sun City, Eliot knows he will miss one thing: his dog, Coho. “He’s a very cool Bernese Mountain Dog. When my dad drives down from the Springs for home games, he brings my dog on the trips.”