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Fire & Ice

Teammates with a lot of similarities, the biggest being their drive to play together in Vancouver

Wednesday, 08.07.2009 / 10:23 AM / Features
By Derek Jory
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Fire & Ice
The similarities are there and they’re impossible to ignore.

Patrick White and Jordan Schroeder were both born in Minnesota, both suit up at forward for the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers and they were both first round draft picks of the Vancouver Canucks.

They’ve also both had hockey flowing through their veins for as long as they can remember, but that’s where the comparisons stop between two drastically different players.

White, the 25th overall selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and Schroeder, the 22nd overall pick from the 2009 draft, are like fire and ice.

Where one is a little bit country, the other is a little bit rock and after two days of Canucks prospects conditioning camp, it’s clear who jives to which beat.

Where White, 20, is easy going and quiet, Schroeder, 18, is aggressive and in your face.

When it comes right down to it, Schroeder jumps out at you and he’s got hockey fans in Vancouver buzzing already.

“On Monday night we went to a little sushi place and we were sitting at the bar so we could watch TV,” explained White on Tuesday.

“We ordered a little snack and the bartender recognized Jordan, which was really funny. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met any random bartender in my life that knew more about hockey then this man did, he knew a lot about the salary cap and about every team and knew some of Jordan’s old teammates and stats.”

Schroeder’s game makes him recognizable even in a dark restaurant, but really all that is known about the draft steal that slipped a long ways down the board to land in Vancouver’s lap is that he doesn’t look the part of a prospect turning heads.

At first glance Schroeder, who stands at 5-foot-8 and 178-pounds, seems to have more Chuck Liddell in him than hockey superstar and according to White, who knows his teammate better than most, he’s actually a hybrid between the two.

What Schroeder lacks in size, he makes up for with raw skill and intelligence.

“A lot of people probably say that his size may be a disadvantage, but he’s probably one of the best skaters that were in the draft and he’s a strong kid too, he pushes the weight around in the weight room,” explained White, currently attending his third prospects camp.

“He really makes those passes that a lot of people can’t even imagine happening, he makes plays happen and you almost wonder if he shot the puck even more how many more goals he’d score because he sees the ice so well and he skates so well.

“He’s always ready to set someone up and that’s why he’s such a good player.”

Despite having only been teammates at the University of Minnesota for one season, White and Schroeder have known each other since high school and it’s not surprising at all to hear that White knew of Schroeder before the latter caught wind of the former’s talents.

“He was playing high school hockey in the eighth grade so everyone knew who he was,” said White.

Their paths first crossed in the Upper Midwest High School Elite League, a league for high school players that decide not to leave and pursue junior hockey, which runs before the high school season starts.

A few years later, with Schroeder developing at a fast and furious pace, the pair competed for the US in the 2007 IIHF World U18 Championships in Finland.

White was a last second injury addition to the squad although he appeared in all seven games picking up five points. Schroeder also had a standout showing finishing third in tournament scoring with 11 points, one behind teammates Colin Wilson and James van Riemsdyk and just ahead of Steven Stamkos.

It was an impressive tournament for both players, especially White who was now on Vancouver’s draft radar.

Two years later expectations are still high for White and while many are quick to point out that Schroeder is younger and already putting up better numbers than his teammate, players come into their own at different times.

Schroeder, for one, is banking on White’s skills. He knows his longtime friend is on the cusp of something special.

“The draft is only a number and after that you’ve got to prove to the staff and organization that you deserve to be here and he’s working hard to prove that,” said Schroeder of White.

“He’s definitely a more skilled player, he’s got a pretty good shot, so I think if he uses his shot to his advantage he can score some goals. I didn’t get to play with him much this past season, but you can see the skill is there and maybe we’d have some chemistry together.”

While Schroeder didn’t need White on the ice much in his rookie debut as a Golden Gopher, he was leaning on the experience of the camp “veteran” prior to this week.

“Right when I got drafted to Vancouver he was quick to congratulate me and when I got back to Minnesota I talked to him a lot about camp just about what to expect and how this would play out,” said Schroeder, who, despite not being nervous, said he was more at ease after talking to White.

“He’s a great kid and a special player and down the road it would be great to be teammates in Vancouver.”