Tuesday, November 28, 2006

White Christmas

Remember Ian White? I sure do.

He was the Broncos' offensively gifted defenseman that most thought was too small to play in the NHL. After four years with the Broncos (2000-2004), he spent a year and a half in the AHL before cracking the Leafs' line-up on a full-time basis. Recently life in the big city hasn't been great for White who has made some bad decisions recently in T.O.

I'm going to tell you what's going on and then tell you some of my personal experiences with the talented rear-guard.

Back before the season started, White decided to get into his Cadillac Escalade and he drove drunk. He was busted for impaired driving and had his license suspended. Everyone makes mistakes.

Well, a few days ago White was busted again. This time for driving while disqualified.

Apparently he's not making any friends with the cut-throat Toronto media. Here's an excerpt from a Steve Simmon's column in the Toronto Sun - one of this country's largest papers.

So Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Ian White got busted for driving with a suspended license after being busted for drunk driving. He says it would be "no big deal" if he wasn't a hockey player. If I were him, I'd shut up for a while and try not to say anything quite so asinine.

It looks like White's comments of "it's no big deal" are getting some play in Toronto. This reporter Steve Simmons seems to be getting some mileage out of this.

Gee, I wonder when White started speaking to the media again?? In his final year in Swift Current White decided he no longer wanted to do interviews with local media . . .maybe more-so just the local radio station. Apparently he felt jaded towards us for some reason or another. It was either something that was said, something implied or maybe it was something else.

Sure we wondered (out loud sometimes) about his motivation, the way he practiced, the way he conducted himself in the community and interacted with others. He obviously decided to take exception to that and therefore imposedinto a "local media ban". Sure he has his supporters, and I can respect those opinions.

Let's rewind the clock and see how this all came to be . . .

At that time it was just after the 2003 World Junior Championship held in Halifax. White had made a big name for himself at the event with his booming pointshot and offensive ability. At one point he was the talk of the tournament. Don Cherry raved about him on "Coaches Corner". TSN and Sportsnet couldn't get enough of the young d-man from the Swift Current Broncos. After eventually losing to the Russians in the gold medal game, White returned with a silver medal and a head that almost couldn't fit inside his helmet, let alone the Broncos dressing room. He closed off the season and not much was said. It appeared at that point though that White was now only playing out the rest of his WHL time as thoughts of pro hockey and the $$$ danced in his head.

Later that off-season he signed with the Leafs, bought his "Cadillac Escalade SUV" and from that point on it was a done deal.

He returned for his 19 year-old season just content to get through his last year of junior. A broken leg in December put the season on hold and his return bid to the World Junior Team was cut short because he wasn't fully healed from his injury.

At some point between his injury and his return to the line-up for the stretch run something changed. Either he heard something he didn't like or was tired of the situation, the city, the media, whatever. He would refuse interview requests and seemed to have a very negative attitude towards the whole process. I never really raised the issue . . . to each his own I guess.

He returned just in time to fuel all the trade deadline speculation that he was headed to Kelowna or Moose Jaw or Kamloops. The Broncos instead traded away Aaron Rome and Aaron Richards to Moose Jaw for Blake Grenier, Derek Krestanovich and Mike Busto. Moose Jaw went on to win the division and enjoy some playoff success. The Broncos were swept in the first round.

My point to all this is Ian White probably upset Simmons from the Toronto Sun at some point and now he's taking his the first opportunity to get after him when trouble finally struck the Leaf's defenseman.

Media tends to go after guys who don't "play ball". Look at Barry Bonds, Todd Bertuzzi and even Riders running back Kenton Keith. There is a feeling of "we can make you look bad or in some cases even worse".

To close, I've never done a "Where Are They Now" with Ian White, I've never even attempted to track down a phone number. I've talked a lot to his teammates out there in Ben Ondrus and Jeremy Williams. I would love to talk to him now, see if his story has changed at all. I highly doubt it considering the way media is taking swings at him now.

That's it for today. Later this week, I'll tell you about some Star Power the Broncos have recruited for the Goals for Education Lottery.

Till then,

1 comment:

ernie said...

Yeah Jon, I always thought White was one of those shady and hard-to-figure-out characters. I don't think anyone could really figure him out....great player though, eh? WOW!