A possible frozen oasis


SalmaPaola Baca

El Paso Hockey Associate might be demolished to expand the port of entry.

Eugenio Cantu, Contributor

Although the prospect of an ice rink in the middle of a desert city might seem a little strange, the El Paso Hockey Association is one of the city’s biggest sports. They are composed of our home team, the El Paso Rhinos, which compete in NAHL (North American Hockey League) championships, and two ice skating clubs. In total, it handles around 500 members ranging from 2-year-olds to 18-year-olds. 

It is not just local membership either, the Rhinos compete in statewide games, in fact half of their season games are away and interstate, ranging from Colorado, to Georgia, Oklahoma, New Mexico and much more.  

All of this is possible due to the state-of-the-art ice rink, located next to El Paso Coliseum, which has been the home of the Rhinos since 2006. However, the Hockey Association has been in El Paso for over 20 years, starting in 2001 with the Buzzards team. Since the Buzzards dissolvement, the Rhinos took their place, and moved into the ice rink  

Unfortunately, news has struck the team, as the ever-growing expansion of the United States-Mexican border port of entry can cause potential demolition of the ice rink and Coliseum. 

“We will not be collateral damage,” said Tyler Deloach, vice president of the El Paso Rhinos. “I’m not against the expansion, but we can’t lose everything we have built.” 

Deloach has been with the Rhinos since 2013. Graduating from Georgetown, she immediately started as an office worker for the team, working her way to vice president. However, hockey has been a lifelong passion. 

“My mother was a cheerleader coach for the Buzzards, and I was a bench bug since I can remember,” Deloach said. 

The city plans for the port of entry have proposed three solutions: they take the surrounding areas of the Bridge of the Americas (BOTA), avoiding demolition but preventing any expansion for them. Or two additional massive size expansions that end in the rink and Coliseum’s demolition.  

“We have just finished renovation in 2020, estimated in around a million dollars,” Deloach said. “At this time, no compensations have been discussed, but if it comes to it, the Rhinos will live on, one way or another.” 

Regardless of the city’s intentions, any form of upgrade to current infrastructure will inevitably affect all existing residents. However, in this case the demolition of the rink and Coliseum could spell disaster for the El Paso Hockey Association.   

According to FreightWaves, “More than 650,000 cargo trucks crossed the border using the Ysleta-Zaragoza International Bridge in 2022, while 161,439 trucks used the Bridge of the Americas.”  

This number also causes numerous blocks for civilian cars and long waiting hours for residents of both countries. Whatever the city decides, it will have a fundamental impact in the city’s future.  

Eugenio Cantu is a contributor and may be reached at [email protected].