Journey To El Paso, TX, Thorne Cup Finals 2018
In anticipation to the Thorne Finals, five teams will make the journey to El Paso, TX, home of the Rhinos, who will host the 2018 Thorne Cup Finals. The six teams will come together in the wake of the tragic bus accident involving the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The teams average 14 hours on the road to El Paso. The Long Beach Bombers, and The Oklahoma City Blazers will travel approximately 12 hours. The Ogden Mustangs travel approximately 14 hours. The Idaho Ice Cats will travel for approximately 19 hours, the most of any team. Lastly, The Utah Outliers who would normally travel approximately 13 hours by bus took a flight to the Thorne Cup Finals this year with a layover in Phoenix Arizona, before arriving to El Paso early Tuesday morning April 10th.
The head coach of the Ogden Mustangs described his travel accommodations as
The Mustangs travel with two drivers when they travel more than ten hours from home.
“[They] have been with us for 2 seasons,”
says Jake Laime,
“we are confident we will arrive safely having all said a prayer”.
The Mustangs encountered a minor set back on their journey to El Paso when their bus broke down in Albuquerque, NM.
The six teams will have their last practice this Tuesday, April 10th, in preparation for the start of the Finals, which start Wednesday morning. The Outliers and the Mustang go head to head in the first game of the tournament.
Paul Taylor, head coach of the Utah Outliers says,
"I think we are comfortable playing away from home. We have a good road record this season".
The Thorne Cup finals will take place at the El Paso Event Center. The Event Center is exclusively an ice rink which seats 1,500. The Rhinos are expected to have a lot of support from their community at the Thorne Cup Finals.
Gary Gil, head coach of the Oklahoma City Blazers shows his support for the Humboldt Broncos stating,
“We want to show our support for the families, organization, and community [of Humboldt]. I can’t begin to think of the pain that they’re going through. We want them to know everyone is thinking about them.”
All the players participating in the Thorne Cup Finals will be wearing HB on their helmets in honor of the Humboldt Broncos who lost their lives.
Head coach of the Long Beach Bombers, Chris White said,
“We will have them in our hearts, every time we touch the ice.”