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Steinbach’s Ian White Signs with Norfolk in Bid for Professional Comeback

Photos by Derek Polena-Katsaros and Dominic Stankiewicz

Steinbach’s Ian White Signs with Norfolk in Bid for Professional Comeback

It has been a long, winding road for Steinbach, Manitoba’s Ian White.

The 38-year-old blueliner was once a solid puck-moving, top-four, power-play defenceman for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Putting up three 26-point seasons in a span of four years in the blue and white certainly had Leafs fans and management excited.

But note the date of those seasons: 2007, 2009, 2010.

White served as a major piece heading back to Calgary in the January 31 deal that sent Dion Phaneuf to the Maple Leafs.

Unable to fully find his game in Alberta, the Manitoba native bounced between five different NHL clubs over a span of four years, including that of the Carolina Hurricanes, San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings – including a 32-point season in 2011-12 – before heading off to play 10 games in Russia’s KHL in 2013-14.

Battling drug and alcohol issues over the duration of his professional career, White was arrested on four separate occasions related to impaired driving, license suspensions as well as a 2015 arrest in Kenora, ON, that saw numerous gun and drug charges to his name.

White openly spoke – alongside his ex-wife Tess – about his addictions and the trouble they caused within his life and family in a sit-down interview with TSN’s Rick Westhead in a short film titled ‘Left Behind’. Tess had also been in constant talks with the NHL’s Players’ Association for better support of current and former athletes dealing with addiction.

In 2013, White rejoined his hometown Steinbach Huskies for a postseason run, and he potted five points in the first game. He has since worked his way through the AHL’s Providence Bruins and Milwaukee Admirals, before playing for Manitoba’s Southeast Prairie Thunder in 2017-18.

He mounted a comeback last season with the Federal Prospects Hockey League, scoring six goals and 23 points in 37 games with the Columbus River Dragons. This year, he put up four goals and 19 points in 25 games with the Motor City Rockers, earning himself a standard player agreement with the ECHL’s Norfolk Admirals – the second tier affiliate of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes.

The news of White’s contract is certainly a feel-good story, as his road back to professional hockey has been a challenging and often troublesome path. But with a commitment to bettering himself and cleaning up his act, the former every-day, NHL regular has found himself back in the professional hockey scene at 38 years old.

In 503 career NHL games, White has 45 goals, 179 points, 254 penalty minutes and a +46 rating to his name.

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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