The ECHL’s Wichita Thunder is expected to gain the services of veteran forward Ryan White in the coming days. The scrappy forward has been without a contract for the first half of the 2020-21 season, after having played out the past two years in his home province with the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose.
The 33-year-old Brandon product has bounced between the NHL and AHL for the duration of his 12-season professional career. Originally drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the third round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, White made his debut for the Habs in the 2009-10 season, following 142 AHL contests with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
He has suited up for 313 regular season NHL games between the Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, Arizona Coyotes and Minnesota Wild, to which he owns 31 goals, 61 points and 447 penalty minutes. He also has two goals and 57 penalty minutes to his name in 19 postseason appearances.
In 48 total games for the Moose, the former Brandon Wheat Kings AAA star put up seven goals, 10 points and 194 penalty minutes. Interestingly, White actually dressed in one game for the Boissevain Border Kings of the 14-team senior men’s Tiger Hills Hockey League based out of southern Manitoba this past October prior to the province of Manitoba entering ‘Code Red’.
White will join fellow Manitobans Dean Stewart (22) and Riley Weselowski (36) with the Thunder. Stewart, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound defenceman, hails from Portage la Prairie and is in his first season of ECHL play after having completed his four years at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Weselowski, a six-foot, 190-pound defender is from Pilot Mound and is in his 13th season of professional hockey, and second with Wichita.
The Thunder are currently third in the Western Conference with a 23-12-5 record in 40 games. Just the Florida Everblades (58) have more points on the season, but with cancellations and the ever-changing world of COVID-19, points-percentage is the main stat-line going forward. Wichita’s .638 trails both Fort Wayne (.694) and Allen (.639) in the West.
The Thunder next take on the Kansas City Mavericks in back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.