Taking Liberties With… Matt White
Position: Forward, Milwaukee Admirals (American Hockey League)
Last amateur team: University of Nebraska-Omaha (then WCHA)
Youth teams: Beach City Lightning, Huntington Beach Sun Devils, L.A. Jr. Kings
White went to his first NHL camp this fall with the Nashville Predators after playing well for their American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee last season after being called up from the ECHL. The fourth-year pro scored at least 22 goals in each of his first three seasons and he has represented Team USA multiple times in international inline hockey competitions.
California Rubber: What is your favorite hockey memory growing up?
Matt White: One of my favorites was during my first season playing ice hockey with the Beach City Lightning when we won a CAHA championship. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to play ice hockey then, but what kid wouldn’t want to win a state title.
CR: What is your favorite memory in the game since leaving California?
MW: For me, it’s the first game at every level. Going into junior the whole year was great – we won the whole thing at Omaha (USHL’s Clark Cup in 2008). The year before, I played at Cushing Academy, which was a mini-college experience and my first time away from home. My first college game at UNO was memorable.
CR: Who have been the biggest influences on you on and off the ice?
MW: My older brother, Ronnie, got me started, taking me to roller rinks. He and my grandma drove me everywhere. My AAA coach, Nelson Emerson, taught me a lot about the game at higher levels. Mike Hastings at Omaha helped, that was my biggest transition, from being a kid to playing junior and becoming a young man. Brad Broadhead was my first coach with Beach City.
CR: What advice would you give young hockey players?
MW: Enjoy the game. Don’t be too serious and enjoy your time with your friends. And stay positive. You never know what could happen. Just keep playing if that is your dream.
CR: Other than hockey, do you have a favorite sport to play?
MW: I enjoyed baseball, and I played soccer as a kid, but I always went back to hockey.
CR: What is your ideal pregame meal?
MW: Usually something with chicken, either rice or pasta.
CR: Are there are any pieces of gear you’re particular about?
MW: My sticks. You don’t mess with those. It takes time to customize it how you want it.
CR: What are essential items to take on a road trip?
MW: I’ve always got to have headphones. It’s important to enjoy some quiet time before you get to the rink. A pillow and a little snack.
CR: When you’re back in California, do you have a favorite meal or restaurant?
MW: There are a lot of nice local places around Orange County, but In-N-Out is my favorite place to eat.
CR: Did you have a favorite player growing up?
MW: Jeremy Roenick. The first game I saw in person at the Great Western Forum was when Chicago played the Kings and he had three or four points and was all over the place getting into scrums. When you’re a kid, the guy who scores the most is usually the favorite.
– Compiled by Chris Bayee