Whitney Quietly Makes a Difference on the Ice
Nov. 22, 2011
By Jen Dobias
On a team filled with star players and high draft picks, Steven Whitney has been quietly making a name for himself because of his hard work and tenacious play on the ice.
After taking on a role as a defensively-responsible forward for the last two years, the junior has also now stepped up his game in response to heightened expectations and increased offensive responsibilities.
"Last year we had guys who got the job done," Whitney said. "I tried to stay within my role. I didn't try to do anything outside of my role. We definitely didn't want to let up any goals because we had those two dominate lines in front of us to do the scoring. This year, we have three lines that can score and need to score."
Playing primarily on a line with freshman Johnny Gaudreau and junior Pat Mullane, Whitney has six goals in 13 games, equaling his total from last season and one away from his career high of seven. He is tied for third on the team in goals with Gaudreau and has 12 points, the result, he said, of playing with skilled line mates, playing more minutes and taking advantage of getting more scoring opportunities.
"I have two setup guys who are very good at it so it makes it a lot easier to score," Whitney noted. "I don't know if I'm a natural goal scorer like Chris Kreider or Billy Arnold. But if I have guys like that on my line to set me up like they do, I should be able to score a few more goals."
Unassuming off the ice but a presence on it, Whitney's humility makes him reluctant to take full credit for his accomplishments, and he often cites his teammates or the advantages he gets from being in BC's system because "it give you everything you need to be successful." While he said that he has "shot to score instead of just getting a shot on net" more this year than previous years, he prides himself on his hard work and defensive play most of all.
"I try to make the right plays and just be accountable and work hard," he said. "That's what I strive for is to always work hard. If you're working hard then no one will really get on you too hard. They know you're trying your best, and they'll respect your for that. And that's what I want to be is a hard worker."
Still, Whitney's work ethic is far from the only thing that makes him special. Mullane, his roommate since freshman year, said that he is a creative and smart hockey player who has an uncanny ability to open up room for his line mates and play a strong defensive game.
"He's really reserved and really quiet," Mullane said. "He's not the kind to do things for the bragging rights or notoriety. He wants to win hockey games, and he brings his best to every practice and every game.
"He's quietly becoming one of the leaders in the locker room because of his work ethic. He's not one to brag about himself, but he lets everyone know how effective and talented he is come Friday and Saturday night when he quietly puts up two to three points or a goal."
His older brother and last year's captain, Joe Whitney, echoed Mullane, adding that he is also a gritty player and a great puck handler.
"Steve's always been a quiet kid, but when he goes to do something, he does the best he can," he said. "He's always been applying himself to be the best he can be in everything."
Standing only 5-foot-7, Whitney relies on his speed and quickness, using former BC players like Brian Gionta and Nathan Gerbe as his models. He also has an edge in his game reminiscent of his older brother.
One of the main reasons why Whitney came to BC was because of Joe. As a freshman and sophomore at Lawrence Academy, he played on the same line as his older brother and emerged as an offensive talent and leader. When it came time to choose a college, he turned to Joe, then a sophomore at BC, for advice.
"A big reason was Joe came here and he loved it so he had everything good to say about it," Whitney explained. "If he didn't like it, he would sure tell me, but he did. I also know they have a winning tradition here which is something that's enjoyable. It's one of the best things about sports. The education here is premier and that was one of the main factors too, if I could get a BC degree that's exciting. It's something I'm excited about and proud of to get."
And Joe, who is currently playing for the New Jersey Devils' AHL affiliate in Albany, says that playing with his younger brother has been special for him as well and has helped to make him the hockey player he is today.
"I was really excited when he came to BC because it gave us another two years to play with each other," he said. "Winning the National Championship together was something I'll cherish forever.
"He's helped me develop into the hockey player I am, and I've helped him as well. We're close, work together, and help each other out, and I think it will always be that way," Joe said.
In the end, Whitney's contributions to the team go far beyond what fans see on the scoreboard. By refusing to ever take a shift off and always giving everything he has, he has become a leader and has shown how appreciative he is to be an Eagle."
"You just have to be happy to be a part of it really," Whitney said. "And they also make you better. Going up against guys like Bill Arnold and Chris Kreider in practice definitely makes you better. Just focusing on your own job, trying to every day work your hardest, and just being happy for other guys who have success, and you know that they'll be happy for you when you do. It kind of works like that."