January 6, 2006
by John Bartlett
It is always an honour to wear the colours of your country and represent your nation on a world stage. Ian White was proud to accept that honour for Canada at the Spengler Cup.
The Toronto Marlies defenceman was part of the blue line for Team Canada at last week's tournament Spengler Cup in Davos, Switzerland. For White, it was a great experience.
"It was awesome and I think it was a great decision. I was happy I got the opportunity to go play there. All the guys, my teammates, from the upper management to the training staff, everyone was very professional and it was a tremendous experience," said White.
The Manitoba native was the Maple Leafs' sixth choice, 191st overall, in the 2002 NHL entry draft. He spent three seasons in junior with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League. Last season he collected 26 points in 78 games during his first full AHL season in St. John's.
The toughest part for any player when it comes to an international invitation is the fact you must leave your own team, but it was the right move for White. When he got the call, it didn't take much thought to accept.
"It was a pretty easy decision," commented White. "Unfortunately you miss Christmas with the family and the holidays here, but they had a little something set up for us over there and you know there are 20 other guys doing the same thing, and it was a blast."
One of the perks that come with playing overseas is the ability to take in some of the sights and become a bit of a world traveler. White and his team took advantage of some spare time.
"The first couple of days since we weren't playing we got to walk around, take a couple of treks up the mountains and stuff. Once it came down to business there wasn't a whole lot of time for other things," noted White.
The biggest adjustment this season for defencemen has been the enforcement of the rules. Add that to the international ice and style of game, and you have a tough challenge ahead of you, but it was something White took in stride.
"It's completely different. With the extra ice, guys are wheeling all the time. There's no dump-and-chase hockey, there's hardly any hitting at all. It's the typical European style of play," noted White, who added that with such a short tournament, adjustments have to be made quickly.
"You've got to adjust quickly or they won't play you. I was happy with how I played, unfortunately the outcome wasn't what we wanted it to be, but those are the breaks." Canada lost in the championship game of the tournament to Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk.
After a bit of a slow start to the season, White has become a solid contributor for the Marlies on defense. He also recorded three goals and seven points during an 11-game span in December. On Jan. 2, his first game back, the Marlies were 6-1 winners over North division rival Cleveland; White recorded a pair of assists and was a plus-3.
"Hopefully I can keep things rolling and help the team."
White always wants to be a big part of his team whether he's wearing the red and white for Canada, or blue and white for Toronto.