A Exclusive Look & Deep Dive Into El Paso Hockey’s History
El Paso has always had an active hockey history: in the 1970s we've had the El Paso Raiders, the El Paso Buzzards & of course we have the El Paso Rhinos. (That's not even considering the teams who play for El Paso Inline Hockey). There's many of us here that have some great memories with the Buzzards; like Steve, Duke, myself & Veronica. My dad & I still have our Buzzards & Rhinos hockey jerseys as well:
But those aren't the only hockey teams we've had; remember the El Paso Rattlers? A Reddit user does as he posted a photo of his El Paso Rattlers hat with Rocky Rattler on it asking if anyone had information on the team.
Well I was fortunate enough to have a phone interview with Danny Guard. He was the Recreation Coordinator at Nations-Tobin Sports Center (part of the El Paso Parks & Rec) from February to December 1985 & again March 1994-October 2005. He's also the Program Director as well as a player & coach for the El Paso Mooses, the blind inline hockey team.
He was nice enough to give a ton of information on multiple El Paso hockey teams including The Raiders, how The Buzzards got their name & the inline hockey team, The Rattlers.
Regarding The Raiders; Danny admits that he didn't know as much as he'd like. But he DID say that one of the players, Terry Weick, played in St Louis University & graduated in 1974. He would moved back to El Paso, joined the El Paso Police Department & later work for Western Refinery, where he would retire from. He also said the EP Mooses used bits of old Raider hockey sticks for the children's hockey games. Thankfully there's a website that gives a brief history on the El Paso Raiders; including the stats, staff, even a recreation of what their uniform looked like.
Now let's go into the Rattlers. The Rattlers inline hockey team lasted from the Spring of 1996 to the Fall of 1998. Between 1994-1995, A man named Richie Sirois from Montreal Canada wanted to start an Incline hockey league in California, & he started a team called the High Desert Rattlers.
Until he moved to El Paso, he brought a couple of players from California & the team was bought by Bruce Edmunds in 1996. It started with 12 guys and the team would play between the Spring of 1996 to Spring of 1998; some of the players would end living in El Paso & even go to college at UTEP (who also has their own hockey team).
When asked how many games the Rattlers have played, Danny said they at least played over 100 games, winning about 67% of their games & some players WOULD eventually play for the El Paso Buzzards. He even told me a hilarious story on how the Buzzards GOT their name; it was during a name contest & out of 500 different names, no one said buzzards. Except one little girl who said "vultures" & they liked it. They changed it obviously but now we know how to Buzzards got their name. That wouldn't be the first time the Buzzards would change the name though (you can see the Cow Patties jersey & the story behind it here)
Nowadays it's hard to find photos of any El Paso Rattlers merch or clothing. The only photo out there is of the hat, previously mentioned, except... there IS one person who owns a Rattlers hockey jersey: my dad, & it's a very special jersey....
I want to thank Danny Guard for his time. Hopefully we'll see more information/photos/videos of El Paso's sports teams appear in the future.