Sunday, July 13, 2008
Bad Teammates - Introducing Ian White
There has been a lot of talk about "problem teammates" in Ottawa over the past year but that's a phenomenon that's as old as the game itself.
Guys like Tom Barrasso, Patrick Roy, Sean Avery, Dominik Hasek and Shayne Corson have all been vilified for various reasons by teammates over their careers but they all managed to have solid careers and in some cases, Hall of Fame careers.
But what really entails bad behaviour on a hockey team?
Gare Joyce might have the best example I've ever read.
In his excellent new book which I just finished, "Future Greats And Heartbreaks - A Year Undercover In The World Of NHL Scouts", Joyce talks to a Swift Current Bronco player named Brady Leavold who has some head turning tales about past teammate and current Toronto Maple Leaf, Ian White.
Here's an excerpt from Gare Joyce's book (which you can buy here):
"The way Leavold describes it, a team is divided along the lines of those who are drafted and those who aren't and aren't likely to be. The players at the top of this caste system are those who are back in junior after having signed NHL contracts. Those players are the ones with chronic cases of entitlement.
"Ian White was the big player when I came here," he says. "He'd been drafted by the Leafs and he had gone to the world juniors. He was just going to do things his way. In training camp we were supposed to show up for fitness testing in the weight room at the rink, and we were all there in our gym stuff. He shows up in jeans and a cowboy hat. He didn't even take it off when he had to do the bench [press]. He did one rep and put the bar back on the rack and said, "That's all I feel like today.' He coulda done dozens of reps. And he gave it to the rookies, too. I was scared shitless. On the bus, I was afraid to even look around my first season. I sat near the front - all the veterans were in the back - and one time when I turned around White saw me and said, "What the f__ are you lookin' at?" After that I didn't look back the rest of the season. I'm a veteran now, I don't want to be like White was to the younger players. It doesn't mean anything to me."
White has since made it to the Toronto Maple Leafs' lineup but also into the headlines recently, first for a drunken-driving charge, then for driving with his license under suspension. The people least surprised by that news were the Broncos. White had asked [Dean] Chynoweth [head coach] if he could skate with the team before the Leafs' training camp, then proceeded to carouse around a town where news of that sort would get back to the Broncos' dressing room before he would. His farewell from the Broncos wasn't marked by a pre-game tribute but by Chynoweth tossing his equipment out the back door of the arena when White didn't show up for a practice and breached the coach's rules. The equipment lay unclaimed for several hours."
- Gare Joyce