Tendered: Connor Thompson

Feb 4, 2021

Hailing from the state of hockey, it’s no surprise that Minnesota native and new Rhino tender Connor Thompson was already skating by the age of three. Following in his dad’s footsteps, he started playing organized hockey at age four and hasn’t put down his stick since.

In November 2020, Rhino Associate Head Coach Vinny Bohn made contact with Thompson and officially started the recruiting process, although the forward had been on his radar long before November.

Thompson explained that after hearing Bohn talk about the program, he was eager to come to the Sun City. He says he is looking forward to the “great atmosphere at every game, great city, and great people.” He was also drawn to the Rhinos’ winning culture. Three of the last eight years, Connor’s high school team has advanced to the state competition, so he understands the responsibility that comes with being part of a winning program. “It helps that I have the expectation to win. I know what it takes to win. And I will apply that winning mentality and do whatever I can to help El Paso win.”

On the ice, Connor describes himself as a physical player who excels offensively and defensively. “I’m a two-way centerman that works hard in all zones. I am to hard play against. I’m tough on pucks in battles. I’m not going to let someone go around me with ease. I make contact with them and try to be as physical as possible.”

Connor’s talent is evident, but Bohn and the Rhinos are excited about characteristics that are not always so obvious, specifically his leadership abilities and his discipline. “Connor is a prime example of resilience during this pandemic. He’s a two-year captain for his high school team and even with the late start to his season, he’s a leader on and off the ice. He’s a worker, a 200ft centerman who wins face offs, kills penalties, and has the ability to play with skilled players. He’s dedicated in the gym so even though his high school season is shortened, he’s still reaping the benefits of his hard work. He didn’t let the pandemic slow his training and preparation down. To us, that speaks volumes about his work ethic and character and that’s what makes us excited about Connor being a part of our organization.”

Like many other hockey teams around the country, Connor’s high school team, Centennial, had their season opener pushed back from November to January and now they’ll play a shortened season. Although he was eager to return to the ice, Thompson thinks the delayed start might have helped him. “I think not playing made me more excited to get going.” Centennial has started off the season 4-1-1 and Thompson has already posted 2 goals and 7 assists, totaling 9 points. In his final high school season, he’s working on the details. “I’m improving the little things in my game like winning little battles and taking the body first, not just the big picture things.”

As he works on his game this season, Connor is looking ahead. “I’m excited to get going down there. I want to come down to El Paso next year and have a great season and a great career.”


Ten Things with Tender Connor Thompson

1. What is your biggest success up until now? Captain of High School Team

Connor has been a two-year captain for high school team. “I’ve liked being the leader and be the person to keep team going on good days and pick team up on bad days.”

2. What’s the last thing you purchased under $20? A Chipotle burrito

His Chipotle order includes a steak burrito with cheese, queso blanco, cheese and white rice.

3. What do you miss most about being a kid? Less homework at school

4. What is something you learned in the last week? Inverse functions for AP calculus

5. If you could be any fictional character, who would you choose? Iron Man

“I like the suit and it really cool and it would be really fun to fly around.”

6. If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor? Dad

He has always been there for me. I can always talk to him about hockey, school and life and he always has great advice.”

7. If you were immortal for a day, what would you do?  Skydive

“I think I’d want to [skydive], but then I’d get up there and I’d need someone to push me out of the plane.”

8. Choose a free trip or money? Free trip

And that trip would be to Europe where he’d like to take the grand tour, France, England, Scotland, and Germany. “I want to see it all.”

9. Travel by plane, train, or automobile? Plan

“It’s the fastest.”

10. Play dodgeball or kickball? Dodgeball

“I think it’s more fun to throw balls at people that to try to kick one.”


According to NAHL.com, “A tender is a contract, of sorts, a player signs announcing his intentions to play for that particular NAHL team and that NAHL team only. Once a player signs a tender with an NAHL team, his playing rights belong to that team within the NAHL and he may not be recruited by any other NAHL team. Each team is granted ten (10) tenders – plus or minus any trades – which become active on Nov. 1. Tendered players are not eligible for the NAHL draft.”