Tom Herman: A major element in El Paso hockey’s rise and success


Isaiah Ramirez, Sports Editor

UTEP Hockey Head Coach Tom Herman has led the Miners to a 21-2-1 record with two games remaining in the 2018-2019 season. The fourth year head coach has been at the helm of this hockey team since its inaugural season in 2015, but his passion for the sport has been engraved in his life for many years.

“I started playing at an early age and grew up playing hockey pretty much every day. I pursued my own hockey career through college and playing in Europe,” Herman said. “I found myself here in El Paso as the youth hockey director and it’s been fantastic.”

Herman, who’s originally from Canada, has been witness to the recurrence of hockey fandom here in the Sun City in which his Miners are a major reason for that rejuvenation. 

The El Paso Buzzards was a professional hockey team founded in 1996 and concluded in 2003, and it brought a spark of excitement to the sport of ice hockey here in El Paso. Herman’s older brother, Corey, played for the Buzzards and is now the head coach for the El Paso Rhinos, created in 2006. 

Thirteen years later, the younger Herman gleams with pride in how much the sport has impacted El Paso. 

“I’ve been here for over 10 years now and it’s been amazing; you come to the Miner games and the Rhinos games and El Paso has turned into a hockey town,” Herman said. “We have the best fans in the conference and we try to make sure we’re giving back to the community, whether it’s visiting schools or helping out with blanket drives, because as a club we’ve really appreciated everything the community has done for us.” 

On the ice, Herman adds on to that selflessness with success in this young Miners team. Two seasons ago, the Miners captured the Texas Collegiate Hockey Conference Championship defeating Dallas Baptist in the Conference’s inaugural season. UTEP sits in first place in the Texas Hockey Collegiate Conference (TCHC )with a 15-1 record and were recently crowned the regular season champions of the TCHC.

With the talent they possess and with Herman at the forefront, the Miners look primed to win the conference title for the second time in three years.

“We’ve been finding a lot of success this year and we’ve talked since day one about getting back to where we were two years ago and winning the conference championship and everyone has bought into that system,” Herman said. 

Last season Herman was named the TCHC Coach of the Year as the Miners finished the season 19-15 overall and reached the second round of the TCHC playoffs.

When it comes to the legacy and stamp Herman would like to leave when his curtain call comes at UTEP, his main focal point is how fulfilling it is to see others succeed on and off the ice.

“I enjoy coaching and I just want to make sure the club’s successful and keeps going on and making sure everyone’s buying in, but at the same time making sure they understand there’s more to hockey.”