The city of El Paso has been roiled in turmoil, recriminations and general shock since more than 20 people died in a mass shooting at a Walmart on Saturday. The incident, combined with an overnight outburst of gun violence in Dayton, Ohio has renewed debates about gun control and a variety of other potential contributing factors to gun violence.
Now, one of the sports teams that calls El Paso home is doing something about it, donating $10,000 now and promising more later.
As reported by NHL.com, the El Paso Rhinos junior hockey club in the Western States Hockey League (with players as young as 18) announced that it plans to donate the aforementioned $10,000 sum to the El Paso Community Foundation with the specific goal of aiding victims and their surviving families. The team also announced plans to auction off jerseys that it will wear during a pair of exhibition games against the U-20 Mexican national team in late September and donate the proceeds to the El Paso Community Foundation as well.
“It’s a pretty sad time in El Paso,” Rhinos coach Cory Herman told NHL.com. “Everybody is in shock right now. You just can’t believe it happened. It’s very, very sad. We wanted to do something to help.
“There were people from Mexico who died that day too. This is a loving city; well, it’s really the biggest small town you’ll ever visit. This is the type of place that if you’re broken down along side of the road, within a couple of minutes you have people stopping trying to help you. People are just in shock right now.”
Herman knows of what he speaks. He ended up in El Paso when he played there professionally at the end of his hockey career. He retired in 2000 but liked the city so much he decided to stay. Years later he helped found the El Paso Rhinos, and the rest, as they say, is history.
It will take much more than the relatively modest donation made by the Rhinos to stem the tide of demoralization and shock that has followed the mass shooting in the city. Still, the effort is a start, and it’s clear the Rhinos don’t plan to stop there.