El Paso ice hockey players dream of playing on Team U.S.A.

KDBC
Friday, February 7, 2014 - 8:47pm

Olympic athletes in Sochi are all seeing one color, gold. Leading up to the broadcast of Friday night's opening ceremonies, fans in El Paso are seeing red, white and blue.

Ty Errampouspe is an ice hockey player on the El Paso Rhinos under 18 team, as well as the Franklin High School ice hockey team. He hits the ice almost every day, not only crafting his skill, but enjoying his favorite hobby.

"I've been playing since I've been three years old. I just loved the game at first site," Errampouspe said, and added, "I enjoy the intensity of the game, how it's fast-moving."

His teammate, John Gilbert, is usually playing right alongside him.

"I started because my friend had a birthday party here ice skating and I just had a blast and it clicked and I just fell in love right away," said John.

John and Ty both play for the El Paso Rhinos under 18 team, as well as the Franklin team.

This is the Cougars' first season, but it's the third season for the Coronado ice hockey team that's been playing since 2011. There were so many players interested, a second team had to be created.

The teams are made up of ice hockey players from all over El Paso and Santa Teresa, and are part of the New Mexico Interscholastic Ice Hockey League.

Since there are no other ice hockey teams in the Borderland, they have to travel as far away as Albuquerque and Santa Fe to meet their opponents.

The Coronado team won the state championship in New Mexico last year.

Ty and John said any downtime not playing the game will be spent watching the Team U.S.A. ice hockey team in Sochi, while they dream of making it to that same world stage one day.

"Root for Team USA. Hopefully they go for the gold," said Ty.

"It's my dream. I couldn't imagine myself really doing anything else," said John.

They both know that reaching that dream won't be easy.

"Injuries are definitely a part of it. I've broken my collar bone and had to get it repaired," said John, "It's just part of the sport, it's a tough sport. It's not for the faint-hearted that's for sure."

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