Merriam-Webster defines dominant as "very important, powerful, or successful." They could add an entry that reads "see El Paso Rhinos." Last weekend, the junior hockey team captured back to back Thorne Cup Championships by defeating the host Ogden Mustangs twice in three days. Their 2-0 shutout over the Mustangs Saturday night gave the Rhinos their fourth Thorne Cup trophy.

In an era when UTEP sports has been down, the Rhinos and El Paso Chihuahuas have been the two constant bright spots for local sports. The Rhinos have dominated play on the ice for the last 13 years and head coach Cory Herman has built a model that is envious of many organizations in junior hockey. They captured their first Thorne Cup Championship in just their second season in existence and they have been runners-up four other times. In 2013-14, the Rhinos not only won their second Thorne Cup Trophy but the National Championship less than three weeks later.

Simply put, no local sports team has ever been as successful over a 13-year period as the El Paso Rhinos. And it's not even close. To think that Coach Herman won his second consecutive league championship with a team that included just five players from last season is a testament to his recruiting and development. There are plenty of local teams and coaches that could learn something from his system. The team also spends countless hours in the community and they do terrific work with the kids and school districts. They play their home games in front of packed crowds, but the sad part is that for all of their achievements on and off the ice, the Rhinos do not receive nearly the accolades, respect, or even the credit that they deserve.

This evening beginning at 6 p.m., the Rhinos are hosting a celebration party at the El Paso County Coliseum Events Center, 4100 E. Paisano. Fans will get the opportunity to meet the players, coaches and staff, and win prizes, such as a signed replica jersey, stick and puck, at the free event. There also will be an auction, where fans can bid on the team’s official warm-up jerseys.

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