Ian White’s two-year stint with the Detroit Red Wings started strongly before ending poorly. His time away from the NHL since then has seen him go through battles with drug and alcohol addiction and brushes with the law.
He’ll be coming back to pro hockey in Michigan on Friday. White, 38 and a veteran of 503 NHL games, is joining the Motor City Rockers of the Federal Prospects Hockey League. The first-year team plays in the Detroit suburb of Fraser.
We are happy to announce the acquisition of former Red Wing defenseman Ian White. Ian will be in the Rockers lineup this Friday vs. the Port Huron Prowlers at Big Boy Arena in Fraser. Buy Tickets at https://t.co/6A3d8Wgdjx
— Motor City Rockers (@RockersHockey) October 26, 2022
White was a solid performer during the 2011-12 season, his first after signing as a free agent with the Red Wings. His campaign saw him collecting 7-25-32 totals during the season while pairing with team captain Nicklas Lidstrom. However, White’s production fell off dramatically in 2012-13. He was accounting for 2-2-4 numbers over 25 games in what would be his NHL swan song. He also got himself in some hot water during the 2012 NHL lockout, calling league commissioner Gary Bettman an idiot.
Addiction doesn't just affect the addict, it affects their entire family.
Ian White played over 500 NHL games, but retired broke & addicted to painkillers. His wife Tess was left to repair their family…alone.
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) January 28, 2022
White had a failed training-camp tryout with the Winnipeg Jets in 2013 and after a couple of AHL stints on PTOs, faded from the hockey mainstream. However, White’s name would be returning to the headlines soon for all the wrong reasons.
White Facing Weapons And Drug Issues
In 2015, White found himself facing charges of careless use or storage of a firearm or prohibited device, unauthorized possession of a firearm, possessing a firearm in an unauthorized place, unauthorized importing of a prohibited or restricted firearm, and breach of recognizance.
White was also dealing with substance abuse issues In a far-reaching interview with CTV News in 2021, White’s estranged wife Tess White revealed that her husband regularly took such powerfully-addicitve substances as Percocet, Ambien, Lorazepam and Oxycodone. White also admits that he was dveoping an addiction to fentanyl during his time with the Red Wings. Twice duringhis playing career he was charged with driving while impaired and once for driving while under suspension.
Twice – in 2014 and 2016 – White wound up in rehab. Shortly after returning home from his second rehab stint, Tess White says Ian overdosed in the kitchen of the family home, requiring life-saving CPR.
“I was a functioning alcoholic/drug addict,” said White, who’s been sober for several years now. He was discussing his NHL career while appearing on the podcast Hockey To Hell And Back. “I could still perform at a high level, so I couldn’t put two and two together that I was addicted. In fact I didn’t know I was an addict until I was about 30 years old.
The plan is for White to be making his FPHL debut with the Rockers on Friday against the Port Huron Prowlers.