I sat down with my friend Alex DeBrincat and asked him 20 questions. Thought you’d like to read them, so here they are!
So, what do you think is the biggest different between the NHL and the OHL?
The speed is definitely a big change, and the way everyone thinks is a lot quicker. I think it’s a bigger, stronger game. I mean, you’re teenagers in the OHL and you’re playing against men in the NHL.
Do you think that you’re ready to play in the NHL?
*laughs* That’s a tough question. I mean, I think I can play there but, you know, it’s up to the Blackhawks to see if I’m ready, but I’m confident in my game and I think I can definitely play there.
#Blackhawks sign 2016 second-round pick Alex DeBrincat to a 3-year deal.
DeBrincat leads the OHL with 17 goals in 14 games this season. pic.twitter.com/Y8OANqTnIo
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 7, 2016
Do you think that you would have to change anything in the way you’re playing?
Maybe a little bit. I think in the NHL, I might have to play less of a skill game, and more fast and physical. So, I think it will be less skill for me [but] still trying to get to the front of the net the best I can, I think [my game] will change a little bit but not too much.
If you weren’t playing hockey, what do you think you’d be doing? Like, if you ended up going to college what would you major in?
Maybe business management or…I don’t know, something to do with sports. Being a sports agent would be cool or, I don’t know…one of those things. Something to do with sports.
What are your plans for the summer?
Just to get stronger and faster and do all of the little things to make myself an NHL player, and obviously, I want to get to that next level so just a lot of working out. I think this is definitely a big summer for me.
What are your thoughts about the Memorial Cup? What do you think your team did well and what do you think you could have done better?
I think we did pretty well. Obviously, making it to the finals was pretty cool, and just being in the tournament is cool in itself. I don’t know much we could have done different. I don’t think…obviously, you’re never going to play a perfect game so, I think for us, I think we played well, but it just wasn’t really enough. I thought we played well each game and losing by one goal [in the finals], it’s tough, but I don’t think we would change anything.
I feel like every time I go online you pop up in my news feed and you’re winning an award or breaking a record and I’m like okay, cool cool. But I feel like it’s all happening so fast for you, how do you handle it all?
*Side note: DeBrincat was the OHL Rookie of the year and the CHL rookie of the year in the 2015-16 season. This year he won the Red Tilson Trophy, which is awarded to the most outstanding player in the OHL. He lead the league in scoring this season with a franchise-record with 127 points (65 goals and 62 assists) in 63 regular-season games. He is also the all-time leading scorer for the Erie Otters and top American scorer in OHL history with 332 points (167 goals and 165 assists.)*
That’s a good question. I mean, during the season you try not to think of it too much. I think that’s something you reflect on during the summer and, you know, you can be proud of yourself for those things. But, during the year, the way I learned to do it is to just brush it off. If you start thinking about those things, it’s going to go to your head, and I’m not going to play the game that I know I can, and I’ll try to change things. For me, during the year, when stuff like that comes out or I see stuff online, I just try to ignore it or push it off, and play my own game and do what I know I can do. Summer is a good time to reflect on that and look back on the season and be proud of what I did. I think that’s the best way to go about it.
What do you think the biggest lesson is that the OHL has taught you; either in hockey or in life?
I think it’s taught me how to be professional. It’s really more of a semi-professional league but you definitely learn how to carry yourself off of the ice, and you’re definitely dealing with a lot more media attention than some other leagues. For me, that was the big thing: dealing with the media, just learning how to carry myself off of the ice. I think [the OHL] definitely helped me a lot. Sometimes you get recognized in public so, you don’t want to be doing anything stupid with your friends. [You have to] be professional at all times.
Who would you compare your playing style to?
I would say Brendan Gallagher. He’s a small guy that gets to the front of the net, and he’s not the most skilled guy, but he definitely gets the job done by going to the net, and he likes to score goals too. I think he’s a good guy for me to model my game after.
What do you normally do on a day off?
During the season, I’ll usually get together with some of the guys and hang out. A day off is kind of hard to come by, so we will just relax. Maybe I’ll watch Netflix for a good amount of time. I think it’s a more low-key kind of day, not doing anything too crazy.
Yeah, watch Netflix until it’s like, “are you still there?”
What’s your game day routine?
Usually, we wake up up in the morning and go to the rink for a quick stretch or warmup kind of thing, and then, after that, a lot of the team would go to a breakfast place we really liked. Then just go home and sleep for probably three hours, and then wake up, eat a pregame meal, go to the rink, and then play.
A little rapid-fire to finish it off:
Dogs or cats? Dogs.
Summer or winter? Summer.
Sushi or tacos? Sushi.
Pools or Lakes? Pools.
Football or baseball? Baseball.
Are you a morning guy or a night guy? Definitely not a morning guy, so night.
Favorite workout day? Leg day.
Favorite holiday? Christmas
Favorite non-hockey related activity? Golf.
So guys, if you wanna be friends with DeBrincat, take him golfing on Christmas, at night, and listen to some country music. That’s my advice for you!