White with Hitmen for life

WES GILBERTSON, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:26 PM ET

If he weren’t so busy, Ryan White would likely be spending countless hours watching hockey this spring.

After all, his former junior team, the Calgary Hitmen, is chasing a Memorial Cup crown.

And his future NHL team, the Montreal Canadiens, is fighting to extend their fairytale run to the Stanley Cup finals.

For White, though, living in the present ain’t bad, either.

Now in his second professional campaign, the 22-year-old centre is among the reasons the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs are just two victories away from advancing to the Calder Cup final.

“(The Canadiens) have been on a great run and that’s nice to see because when you parent club is doing well, it’s great for the organization,” White said. “But the best part about it is that we’re doing well down here and that we’re the only team left in the NHL with two teams playing right now, so it’s a big accomplishment for both of us.

“We’re wishing them the best of luck and we’re hoping for the best for ourselves, as well.”

Heading into Friday’s clash in the Lonestar State, White and his Bulldogs teammates lead the Texas Stars 2-1 in the AHL’s best-of-seven Western Conference final series.

After suiting up for 16 regular-season outings with the Habs this winter, there’s little doubt White would’ve been included among the black aces for Montreal’s NHL playoff push. With the Bulldogs still skating, though, the extras are busy battling for a trophy of their own.

“This is the best thing that can happen to any hockey player. It’s what you wish for every year,” White said. “I’ve been pretty fortunate being on some teams that have made some runs but just haven’t been able to close it out, and I think this year, it just feels like we have the right group to do it.”

Through 15 post-season outings, White has notched four goals and added five assists. Thanks to a pair of misconducts, the gritty pivot also leads the Bulldogs in playoff penalty minutes, with 43.

In the meantime, he’s also keeping tabs on former junior teammates Martin Jones, Brandon Kozun, Ian Schultz and Michael Stone.

White spent four seasons with the Hitmen from 2004-08 before graduating to the pro ranks, and his Brandon-based parents have been flying Calgary colours at Westman Place this week.

“I’m a Hitmen for life,” White said. “I’ve been watching the Hitmen all through their run and I’ve been one of their biggest fans. It’s been a big year for them ... I’m wishing them all the best of luck in Brandon.”

wes.gilbertson@sunmedia.ca


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