Hockey season in El Paso is almost here and the schedule for the El Paso Rhinos has been released. Many new interesting changes have been made that will not only make the season more exciting, but more competitive as well.
The first thing noticed when looking at the Rhinos 2015-2016 schedule, is the frequency of games (almost weekly) and the total amount of games being played overall. Eight extra games have been slated to the Rhinos schedule this season so the players must prepare themselves for a longer season.
The Rhinos open the season away from home on Oct. 23rd, and will travel to Southern California to take on the Valencia Flyers. But the California expedition doesn’t just end there. The following day (Oct.24th), the Long Beach Bombers will be expecting a young and driven Rhinos team that will be playing their second out of three games in California during that weekend. Then the Rhinos will finish up their first weekend of the season with a rematch against the Flyers (Oct 25th). The Rhinos will have to travel to California one more time in November (20th-22nd) this season to face these two challenging teams yet again.
In their home debut (Oct 30th), the Rhinos will take on an up and coming Wichita Thunder squad. It will be a three-game series conducted from October 30th to November 1st.
After two straight weekends of back to back hockey, the Rhinos have a litter over one week off (Nov 2nd to Nov 12th) to recover and continue to practice. Then there will be another three-game home-stretch (Nov 13th-15th) where the Superior Roughriders come to town to face a well-rested Rhino team.
All Rhinos games played in December will be at home, so make sure to prepare for plenty of Rhino hockey at the end of the year. December 4th is the beginning of another three-game clash with the Dallas Snipers taking on the Rhinos in El Paso, TX. The Snipers struggled last season, so it will be interesting to see how they perform this year.
During the second part of the Rhinos December home-games includes a Tulsa Oilers team that finished last in the Midwest Division during the 2014-2015 season. This could be an easy weekend (Dec 11th-13th) for the Rhinos if they continue to play their game. The Rhinos will also make a trip to Tulsa in February (5th-7th) for another interesting divisional series.
The 2015 W.S.H.L. Showcase will include 28 teams this season, including your very own El Paso Rhinos. The Rhinos will make a trip to Las Vegas that will last from December 18th to December 20th, and they will take on different W.S.H.L teams to showcase their talent for over 100 scouts from the N.C.A.A. and A.C.H.A. hockey club teams across the U.S.
This month starts off with the WSHL. All-Star Game, where the best of the best players from all over the league will compete against each other on two separate teams. The All-Star weekend will be conducted over the weekend of January 1st-3rd.
Right after the All-Star Game the Rhinos will have to bounce back quickly to prepare to face the Springfield Express, an up-and-coming team who will give the Rhinos a real test from January 8th-10th in Missouri. This is part one of the three consecutive weeks that the Rhinos will be away from home.
The second series of a three-week road trip, the Rhinos will have to face the Oklahoma City Blazers (Jan 15th-17th). This matchup won’t be the only one this season, as the Rhinos will come back home in February (26th-28th) and take on the Blazers once more before the season’s end.
To wrap up the long journey away from home, the Rhinos will travel to Arizona (Jan 22nd-24th) to battle the Phoenix Knights, yet another team who struggled last season.
Finally, after what will seem like a very strenuous month for the Rhinos, a non-division series will be played at home against the Ontario Avalanche, a team coached by former El Paso Buzzard player Jamie Thompson.
February will simply be another month of action-packed Rhino hockey, who will hopefully be preparing for the postseason.
Valentines weekend (Feb 12th -14th) brings an exciting home-game matchup versus the San Diego Sabers (Formerly known as the “San Diego Gulls”). The Sabers finished last season with a losing record (15-29), well enough for 6th place in the Western Division.
The final two series played by the Rhinos will be crucial division matchups against the OKC Blazers (Feb 26th-28th) and the Springfield Express (Mar 4th-6th). These divisional matchups may determine who comes out on top of the Midwestern division, which will be important come postseason.
Although this season’s schedule for the Rhinos includes a few more home series, the matchups and divisional games will still be highly competitive. The Rhinos Staff and Players will travel approximately 13,740 miles all across the nation to and from away games. Prepare for hopefully another exciting season put together by Cory Herman and the staff!
You can view the complete schedule here.