FORT BLISS, Texas - The El Paso Rhinos hockey team invited the Fort Bliss community to Military Appreciation Night, Dec. 3 and 4, in a last second, hard-fought victory against the Fort Worth Brahmas.
Members of the 1-6 Infantry and the 4-1 Brigade Combat Team squared-off during the intermission to have a scrimmage of their own. It gave the unit teams a chance to utilize hockey drills instead of battle drills. The soldiers had a good time as they demonstrated their skills on the ice and showed some impressive skating.
“We love coming here,” said Spc. Patrick Ostrander, a medic in the 1-6 Infantry. “I’m proud to hold the guidon representing my unit and cheer our team on.”
Michael Hissam, color analyst and announcer for the Rhinos, says Military Appreciation Day is one of his favorite events.
“A lot of military come to support our team,” Hissam said. “We have many soldiers who come from big hockey towns and they come here and get a taste of home. We love having Military Appreciation Night. It gives us the chance to show our support for the Soldiers.”
The Rhinos organization is a junior league finishing program that gives young players a chance to hone and develop their skills, giving them an opportunity to win hockey scholarships to universities.
“In the past 5 years, since the organization’s inception, more than 22 players have received scholarships,” said Rhinos Head Coach Cory Herman.
Herman said the players come from all over the United States to have a chance to compete and play in this arena. When the house is full they love it but, when the military shows up, they turn up the heat.
“Our guys get pumped up when it’s Military Appreciation night”, said Herman.