3View: El Paso Rhinos
Read the original article on na3hl.com here.
The 3View series will feature an in-depth look into all NA3HL teams in preparation for the 2022-23 season, with two teams being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 3View goes in-depth into each NA3HL team and will include interviews with all the head coaches in the NA3HL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the 2022-23 season, including taking a look at their potential roster and their strengths as a team for the upcoming season. It will also take a look back on the 2021-22 season and how each team fared and what they accomplished. Best of all, 3View will provide the fans of the NA3HL with an inside look at their favorite team and what to expect.
El Paso Rhinos
2021-22 Record: 33-13-1, 67 pts. (3rd in South Division)
2022 Playoffs: Won the South. Lost in Fraser Cup Round-Robin
Head Coach: Nick Mammel
2022-23 Division: South
The El Paso Rhinos continued to make their presence known in just their second season as a member of the NA3HL. After a strong inaugural season, momentum continued in El Paso as they finished with 67 points and punched a ticket to St. Louis to get a chance to win the Fraser Cup.
After a season of excitement that ultimately ended in disappointment, head coach Nick Mammel is returning for another season behind the bench and is ready to make it back to St. Louis.
“I was very happy with last year’s performance, after a slow start the boys really came together and had a great run. My goal will always be to win the South Division and to be able to repeat would be a great honor. This year’s goal will be to make it back to the Fraser Cup.”
The Rhinos have a history in junior hockey dating back to 2006. Today, the organization has a unique footprint in both the NAHL and NA3HL and that comes with some distinct advantages.
“I believe players come to El Paso with goals to move to the next level, having our NA team in the building and to see that we have the same off-ice programs and same access to video and equipment, really drive them to keep pushing in pursuit of their goals. It was great to see the success of advancement in my first year and my goal is to have even more this upcoming year.”
The success of advancement was an understatement in the now third year program, producing two college commitments, three NAHL Tenders, and three NAHL Draft Picks. Despite losing eight key skaters to the next level, the roster will see eight important returning players ready to make an impact.
The South Division of the NA3HL has historically been a challenging division for teams and players to be a member of. The Rhinos are prepared for another battle and Mammel sees it as an opportunity for the younger players to grow.
“Another large challenge is the style that the South brings. I believe that most of the South Division teams were full of size and to know every weekend you are going against big and old teams is taxing on minds and bodies. But that is also a great advantage when looking to move kids on. They get to prove that they can play and succeed against bigger bodies and most likely for my team, (one of the youngest teams last year) older players… The south is going to be a battle but we will keep our Horns Up and look to repeat.”
Looking to repeat their winning ways and take a closer step to taking home hardware, Mammel knows that the goals he and the team have set for this upcoming season come with a price.
“Our goals are the same, we want to win the south and lead it in advancement. To do that we have to understand that there is a target on our backs every time we do something hockey related. You have to come with your best in all aspects of the hockey season for players. That means what you eat, how you are in the gym, and then how you follow it up on the ice.”