Pueblo Bulls Entering WSHL Scene

by Manny Brizuela

Humility is a trait that resonates deep with a lot of people in the hockey community. As a player growing up you are told to remember where you came from and to stay true to those who helped you reach that next level. The Pueblo Bulls represent a “passion project” started by Jerry and Chris Wilhite and David Nelson.   

Chris and David, former El Paso Rhinos, enjoyed a successful tenure in the WSHL years ago, and wish to give back to junior hockey by giving kids the opportunity they once had.

“You get the question, ‘What are you doing after college?’ Ultimately, this is a passion project,” Nelson said in an interview with KOAA News. “Growing up playing hockey my whole life, it’s the only thing you kind of breathe and think about when you’re playing hockey in Minnesota.”

Wilhite dressed in 144 games for the Rhinos between 2010 and 2015 tallying 39 goals, 82 assists and 121 points in regular season play. Nelson played in 123 games (61-78-139) between 2011 and 2014. Now, as coaches and originators of the Pueblo Bulls, the two have found a way to stay true to junior hockey and make an impact in their community.

The Bulls are entering the WSHL scene just south of Colorado Springs in the city of Pueblo. Pueblo has roughly a population of 110 thousand. Team owner and Chris’s father, Jerry Wilhite, believes that the hard work has been done and that the city is already embracing the notion of a junior hockey team.

“We haven’t come and ask the city for anything, except the opportunity to be here and be in the community,” said Jerry Wilhite to KOAA News.

The people of Pueblo no longer have to drive 50 miles north to see hockey games. Rather, the Bulls can rest assured they are settling in a city that has a fondness toward hockey. And the facility is already a staple in the community. 

“It’s a beautiful little barn and will be such a great facility and atmosphere for hockey,” Jerry Wilhite said to the Pueblo Chieftain Newspaper. “It will be one of the top five facilities in the league without doing anything.”

Pueblo becomes the third Colorado city to have a WSHL team joining the Northern Colorado Eagles of the Mid-Western Division and the Steamboat Wranglers of the Mountain Division. They are set to hit the ice as early as the 2019-2020 season. With buzzing youth programs in multiple sports, the Bulls are in line with the vision of Pueblo athletics.      

“We believe this will enhance what Pueblo is trying to do and we feel like we’re going to add something to the city,” Wilhite said to the Pueblo Chieftain Newspaper. “It’s going to be the best brand of hockey Pueblo can see.