Awards: Erie’s DeBrin­cat named CHL player of year


WIND­SOR, ONT.— Alex DeBrin­cat has been told more than once he is too small to suc­ceed.

It’s a ma­jor rea­son why the 19-yearold waited so long to hear his named called at the 2016 NHL draft, de­spite scor­ing 51 goals and 104 points in the year lead­ing up to it.

“I think a lot of teams were wor­ried if I could still do it at the next level,” DeBrin­cat said about drop­ping to the sec­ond round. “In my mind I can, and hope­fully I will for a long time.”

With some extra mo­ti­va­tion, DeBrin­cat ex­ceeded his draft-year num­bers by a wide mar­gin in 2016-17, with 65 goals and 127 points in 63 games with the OHL’s Erie Ot­ters. He was named the Cana­dian Hockey League player of the year Satur­day.

“Feels good, (but) com­ing into the sea­son we had a big­ger goal in mind,” DeBrin­cat said, be­fore the Me­mo­rial Cup fi­nal. “Wasn’t re­ally about me putting points or goals, more of a team thing.”

Chicago se­lected DeBrin­cat in 2016 with their first pick, 39th over­all. A to­tal of 26 teams over­looked him. Twelve passed over him twice.

The Farm­ing­ton Hills, Mich., na­tive is listed at five-foot-seven and 170 pounds, which falls well below the av­er­age size hockey player. But he be­came just the sec­ond player in OHL his­tory, and the first in 40 years, to record three straight 50-goal sea­sons.

“I think a lot of peo­ple are wor­ried about my size,” he said, “but Chicago be­lieves in me.” Among the other awards: Bran­don’s Nolan Pa­trick, listed No. 1 in NHL Cen­tral Scout­ing’s rank­ings for June’s draft, was named the top CHL prospect.

Halifax’s Nico His­chier, No. 2 on Cen­tral Scout­ing’s list, won rookie of the year.

Saint John’s Thomas Chabot, an Ot­tawa Se­na­tors prospect, was named top de­fence­man.

Owen Sound’s Michael McNiven, a Cana­di­ens prospect, was named goal­tender of the year.

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