Forward Zach White re-signs with Iowa Heartlanders

White is the first player to agree to terms with the Heartlanders for the 2022-23 season.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa forward Zach White carries the puck up the ice during a hockey match between Iowa and Wheeling at Xtream Arena in Coralville on Wednesday, April 6, 2022. The Nailers defeated the Heartlanders, 6-4.

Isaac Goffin, Sports Reporter

The Iowa Heartlanders have re-signed forward Zach White, it was announced Tuesday. White is the first player that agreed to terms with the Heartlanders for the 2022-23 season.

The 5-foot-7 skater from Milford, Connecticut, played an integral part for the Heartlanders in their inaugural campaign after he joined the team on Dec. 10.

White scored a goal in his first game with the Heartlanders and that proved a sign of things to come for White. He recorded 51 points in 52 games, scoring 18 goals and compiling a team-high plus-10 rating.

White said he decided to return to the Heartlanders because of comfortability.

“Why wouldn’t I want to stay in a place that really appreciates what I could bring to the team?” White said. “I think that’s the main reason why, and I’m hoping that some of the guys do come back from last year.”

In the 2021-22 season, White typically competed on the top line as a center, with wings Kris Bennett and Ryan Kuffner flanking him. Yet, he saw time on different lines and in different positions throughout the season. White even played a series at defenseman in January when the Heartlanders were thin on the blue line.

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Heartlanders assistant coach Derek Damon called White a Swiss army knife, mentioning for the last few months of last season, the skater fought through a high ankle sprain.

“He’s a guy that can really think the game at a high level, especially at this level,” Damon said. “He can make plays, but like I said he can play different positions. So, whether that means top line this year, I don’t know. We’re still in the infancy stages of building out the team for next year and where we see guys, but he’s definitely a guy we’re going to lean on in critical situations.”

During this offseason, White said he’s rounding out his game to become the best possible player for his teammates.

“If it’s being a goal scorer, I’ll do what I can to score goals,” White said. “If I’m setting up guys, I’ll set up guys. If I have to drop the mitts every once in a while, then so be it. But I think personally, I’m just trying to get a little bit stronger, a little bit faster, like I’m not the tallest guy.”

Before landing with the Heartlanders, White traveled across lower minor league clubs after four seasons at the Massachusetts-based-NCAA Division III Curry College.

He played two contests with the Fayetteville Marksmen of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) in 2018-19. White suited up for a French club during the 2019-20 campaign and returned to North America in 2020-21 after signing with the Federal Prospects Hockey League’s Carolina Thunderbirds. He started 2021-22 with the SPHL’s Vermilion County Bobcats until the Heartlanders offered him a contract.

Now, with his signature on a new contract, White will stay with the same team for two straight seasons for the first time since his college days.

“I’m excited to see the new culture and see everybody and see what the coaching staff has brought to the team for next season,” White said. “I’m excited to see all the staff. I love our staff. They were really awesome to us.”

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