El Paso captain, Parker native Pent seeing ’22-23 NA3HL season off to successful start
For Payne Pent, he simply wanted an opportunity to continue playing hockey after the 2020-21 season with Cherry Creek High School.
The El Paso Rhinos chose Pent in the first round (29th overall) of the 2021 NA3HL Draft and it’s been all positive since then.
“I was interested in coming here because there’s an NA team here in the same building and I think the league has done a good job on getting kids chances in the NA with tenders and draft picks,” said Pent, a Parker native. “I think we are starting to gel as a team and start playing how we know we can. I think personally I’ve had a good start to the season but know there’s still a lot of games left.”
This season, Pent was named captain of the Rhinos, something he was not expecting.
“It was a surprise to be captain,” Pent said. “I knew there was a chance being a returning guy, but we have a whole room full of leaders this year.”
Playing in El Paso has been a joy for Pent, who said it’s more than just a hockey team.
“I like El Paso a lot,” Pent said. “The people here are super friendly and the weather is nice year-round so we can go golf or go to team activities outside.”
Back home, Pent played for the Arapahoe Warriors until his 14U year then played for the Colorado Evolution before going to the Colorado Springs Tigers for his 15U and 16U years. He spent his senior season with Cherry Creek.
“All my coaches have helped me a lot throughout my journey on and off the ice,” said Pent.
Looking ahead, Pent’s dreams all revolve around hockey.
“My short-term goals are to make this season as successful as possible and try to earn myself an NA opportunity,” Pent said. “My long-term goal is to play NCAA hockey at the Division I or Division III level.”
Photo/El Paso Rhinos
— Matt Mackinder
(November 23, 2022)