UOIT Ridgebacks defenceman Tucker White is feeling the pain after being taken off the ice due to an injury but he hopes to be back soon.
White was hurt in the first game of the season after he bent down to pick up a puck. He was hit and his head smashed into the boards.
“As a big guy, I usually don’t get hit in the head,” he says. “I didn’t really get much playing time under my belt.”
He’s been out for two months with a concussion, only recently being able to practice again. Head coach Curtis Hodgins says he misses having the large defenceman on the ice.
“Tucker was a big part of our team as a first-year guy last year. A big, strong player who is the ultimate team player, actually,” says Hodgins. “We’re looking forward to having him back in the new year.”
Last year, White had the opportunity to work alongside great coaching staff, including former NHL defenceman Paul Ranger. Ranger played for the Tampa Bay Lightning before retiring in 2015 and coaching with the Ridgebacks last year.
He says he “learned a lot” from Ranger and is grateful to Hodgins for embracing his playing style.
“They call us ‘old school defencemen,’ so, we’re kind of like a dying breed,” says White. “He accepts my role and doesn’t want me to go outside of my role-play and be something I’m not.”
Due to his injury, White’s school work and exams were pushed back during his recovery. He says the school “helps a lot” but he still feels the pressure of falling behind and getting back in the game.
“I couldn’t do school work, I couldn’t work out, and I couldn’t play hockey,” he says. “I’m confident I’m going to pass, I’ve had the help, it’s just tough managing time.”
As he continues to complete his education, White has his sights set overseas as he considers his career prospects in communications. However, he says he’s also open to hockey as an option in the future.
“The international thing really appeals to me because I love traveling. I’m really good with different people and different cultures,” says White. “A big part of me is a traveler and another is a hockey player. If I got the opportunity to be in a different place and be a hockey player, that would be unbelievable.”
White, who is from Holden, Mass., played for several U.S. teams that led him to eventually study at UOIT. Since then, he has scored his first goal in the OUA. He has also visited his family in Boston, where he enjoyed his other hobbies such as fishing and hiking.
He’s also made the decision to stay in Canada while he completes his undergrad.
“I’m in it for the long haul now, I’m staying,” he says with a chuckle. “Yeah, I’m not leaving.”
White is expected to be able to play regular season games by January.