There’s a lot of great hockey in El Paso – and it doesn’t just stop with the young guns on the Rhinos or at UTEP.
In fact, the “Pile of Bones” can claim it’s one of the more successful adult teams across the country.
The team, which consists of players in their 50s and 60s, routinely dominates at the national level. They’ve won tournaments both on the ice and in “inline” hockey, which is played on a hard, dry surface while wearing roller blades.
They’ve been particularly successful at the Labeda USA Inline Championships in Las Vegas, where they’ve claimed titles in five of the past six seasons. That includes championships at the 40-and-over level in addition to the 60-and-over level earlier this month.
“We’ve been together for years, so we play like a machine. Literally,” said David Sime. “We play very well together.”
Sime, a chiropractor by trade, goes by the nickname “Doc,” and is one of many players who simply says he never wants to give up the sport he loves.
“We all have different professions down here – engineers, doctors, teachers, things like that. And we all play hockey,” he said.
The Pile of Bones, or just “Bones” for short, has been together for about 15 years. And they hope to be a factor in the continual growth of the sport in El Paso.
“You know, I tell people we have probably one of the best hockey situations anywhere in the country because we do have such a good core group of people here,” said Joe Stufflebeam. “People who love the game, are dedicated to it, a lot of volunteers. And, you know, that’s what makes hockey successful in El Paso.”
So how long will the team keep playing? They say they’ll keep going until they simply can’t any longer.
“I used to live up in Michigan. And I was skating when I was probably in my late 20s. And I was out playing a pick-up hockey game. And there was a guy in the rink with us who was 72,” said Paul Rohde. “So, I figure I’ve got a few years left.”