|Former Senators forward Todd White, a Kanata native and honorary chair of the Bell Capital Cup, says there's nothing like a hockey tourney during the holiday season (Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photography/OSHC).
Todd White couldn’t be happier to be home again.
His return to the nation’s capital brings the 36-year-old Kanata native back to his hockey roots. And even though the Bell Capital Cup was born long after his minor hockey days were done, White was excited about getting the opportunity to embrace a tournament that has become one of Ottawa’s unique hockey traditions.
“It’s just a phenomenal tournament that has grown over the years,” said White, a former Ottawa Senators centre who will serve as honorary chair for the 13th annual Bell Capital Cup, which wraps up this weekend with championship games Saturday and Sunday at Scotiabank Place.
Though he saw service with half a dozen National Hockey League teams, White is best known in these parts for his three years with his hometown Senators — most notably the 2003 run to the Eastern Conference final, a season in which White scored a career-high 25 goals. It’s that connection that made Bell Capital Cup organizers believe White was “a solid fit” to be involved with the tournament.
“He was one of those guys, back when he played, who was loved by the community,” said Scott Lawryk, the general manager of the Bell Capital Cup. “He was a fan favourite, so it was a good fit for us in terms of him being well known locally and being such a well-respected player by his peers in the league.”
White played most of his minor hockey for the Ottawa Valley Titans organization and he fondly recalls the old Ottawa International tournament over the Christmas holidays, when everyone’s biggest goal was to make it to one of the championship games and have the distinction of wearing a tournament jersey.
“The big thing was to make it to the finals because they gave you a jersey,” said White. “That was one of the things I remember about the Ottawa International. We always had a lot of success growing up. My teams were always able to get to the finals.”
It’s those types of experiences that White — who played alongside another ex-Senator, Shean Donovan, on some of those Titans teams — hopes youngsters at the Bell Capital Cup take home from the tournament.
“Minor hockey is great not only for developing as a hockey player, but it’s also great for developing as a human being and developing friendships that can last a lifetime,” he said. ”Growing up, I loved being able to play in tournaments and play against different teams. Just the whole atmosphere of a tournament was fun.”
For those who take part in the Bell Capital Cup, there’s always the possibility of playing in a final at Scotiabank Place, the home of the Senators.
“Definitely, for all the successful teams in all the different levels of age groups, to be able to play in Scotiabank Place would be something that would mean a lot to the kids and their parents,” said White. “It’s something I never got to experience as a kid, to be able to play in an NHL rink at such a young age.”
Championship games run from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. To catch a live online stream of all the action, visit www.bellcapitalcup.ca/livestream