Alex DeBrincat and Sam Girard dropped gloves during the Chicago Blackhawks blowout loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday, November 30, 2019. At 5’7” and 5’10” respectively, both guys are better known around the league for their hockey skills and pretty plays, definitely not for fighting. That is, generally speaking. But Alex DeBrincat has quietly built up a hefty resume of feisty outbursts. This one was nowhere near his first fight.

Sam Girard (2019)

With the Blackhawks trailing miserably for the majority of the game, tension and frustration was definitely building on the Blackhawks bench. With a shot gone wide, it all came to a head when Alex DeBrincat (5’7”, 165lbs) dropped ‘em with Sam Girard (5’10”, 162lbs). It’s not every day that you see two star players with similar smaller builds go at it. Neither are well-versed in proper fighting technique, that much is obvious from the clip, but they both earn an A+ for heart.

Josh Manson (2018)

Unofficially Alex Debrincat’s first NHL fight (or scuffle, at least), occurred during a Blackhawks win on October 23, 2018 against the Anaheim Ducks. In his sophomore season, DeBrincat took on Josh Manson, who at 6’3” stands a full eight inches taller than him. This didn’t seem to phase DeBrincat, though, because he went in and didn’t let up. Even Ryan Getzlaf had to lend a hand in yanking DeBrincat off of Mason. Although the fight didn’t technically count as a real fight, it resulted in matching two minute roughing minors for DeBrincat and Manson.

Teammate Erik Gustafsson didn’t know that DeBrincat had it in him, but was pleasantly shocked. The fight definitely got both the crowd and the team going, effectively boosting morale. The Blackhawks ultimately pulled the win here, so maybe it really did work.

Matt Irwin (2018)

Although I’d personally count the Manson scuffle as his first NHL fight, Alex DeBrincat earned his first upload to on December 1, 2018. The Blackhawks visited the Nashville Predators and were already down 3-0 in the first period. Naturally the tension was already high. The Preds’ Salomaki went down on a check by Duncan Keith and chaos broke out.

First, DeBrincat drops the gloves with Matt Irwin, who stands at 6’1” and 207lbs. He manages to get a nice barrage of right hooks in before he goes down, literally still swinging. The refs had to pull them apart and keep them separated. Not more than a second after, Duncan Keith drops ‘em with Salomaki, clearly riding the momentum. The Blackhawks eventually lose this game, no surprise, but DeBrincat finally registers his first NHL fight. 

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Juniors (Before 2016)

But Alex DeBrincat’s feisty streak didn’t start in the NHL. He’s always had a bit of fight in him. Following the fight against Josh Manson, DeBrincat admitted to a few scraps in his hockey career.

DeBrincat said he was in three fights in junior hockey but never against somebody as large as Manson.

“They were obviously all bigger than me,” DeBrincat said. “It’s not something I like to do, but I get frustrated sometimes.”

Jimmy Greenfield (The Chicago Tribune)

It’s not uncommon for guys who grew up playing on the smaller side to learn how to be scrappy and fight for themselves. These are the guys that learn how to take hits and bounce right back up early on. These are the guys that know how to take care of themselves and fend for themselves, all from years of experience while growing up. 

Alex DeBrincat is one of those guys. Top line talent alongside Dylan Strome and Connor McDavid on the Erie Otters, it wasn’t rare for opponents to target the 5’7” guy on the skills-oriented line. Scuffles were bound to happen, and DeBrincat had already learned to take them in stride. 

Even before the OHL, DeBrincat dropped gloves to stick up for himself when he played high school league for Lake Forest Academy.

Exasperated by the unceasing target on his back, DeBrincat lost his composure during a heated high school hockey game in Lake Forest, Ill., a small town about 40 miles north of Chicago. Ejected, he hit the showers early.

DeBrincat… sat out Lake Forest Academy’s next game to serve a suspension and contemplate life as a very skilled but very small forward.

“He had a bit of the little man’s syndrome,” recalls Lake Forest coach Darrin Madeley, “where I think he’d been told he’s so small so many times that he would snow the goalie and accidentally fall on top of him, stuff like that.”

National Post

World Juniors (2015)

Fights aside, DeBrincat has shown some heat in losing his cool, even against better judgement. The USA-Canada World Juniors game is one of the most intense hockey competitions of the year, and in 2015, Alex DeBrincat managed to lose his cool right in the middle of it. Team Canada’s Travis Konecny is now known to be his own category of pest, but eighteen-year-old Alex DeBrincat was having none of it. 

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DeBrincat blatantly spears Konecny right in front of the Canadian bench… and the ref. He gets himself a five minute major, a game misconduct, and is promptly ejected from the game. Oh, and this is all in the first three minutes of the game. Stupid move, sure, but DeBrincat has proven that he isn’t the type to put up with anything. Luckily, he’s become more smart about it these days.

Alex DeBrincat has more than proved his skills, earning a whopping 41 goals (76 total points) last season. But he’s also proven grit and heart when the time is appropriate to drop the gloves and throw down. DeBrincat has never let his build stand in his way and that won’t change anytime soon. 

Follow Belly Up Sports (@BellyUpSports) and Jacqueline (@jxcquelineoh) on Twitter for more.

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1 Comment

    Oh, Jacqueline! Do you even KNOW what ‘goon’ means, in hockey OR regular terms?

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