DeBrincat’s hometown dream bolstered with Kane reunion
Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat spent five seasons together as members of the Chicago Blackhawks prior to reconnecting in Detroit.
All photos courtesy of Getty Images
Alex DeBrincat was not about to stand pat when it came to helping the Detroit Red Wings land former teammate Patrick Kane.
DeBrincat, who played alongside Kane from 2017 to 2022, was integral in convincing his former teammate to sign on the dotted line.
“I had a lot of conversations with Patrick over the summer. As Detroit became a possibility, we were both hoping it would work out,” the winger told NHLPA.com.
DeBrincat, who was traded from Ottawa to Detroit in July 2022, also grew up a Red Wings loyal.
“Being able to watch all those great players, guys you knew were going to be in the Hall of Fame, is a big memory for me,” explained DeBrincat, who grew up in Farmington Hills, Michigan, located a 30-minute drive from downtown Detroit.
“They made the playoffs every year when I was young. They were a winning team, and they were fun to watch. I loved following the players they had, just how talented they were, and what they brought every night.”
The 26-year-old is working on passing that same tradition down to his son, Archie, who gets to watch his dad aim to achieve the same success.
DeBrincat, who recently recorded his 400th NHL point, is now part of a Red Wings roster that features a blend of young stars, established players and veteran performers. The former Ontario Hockey League standout is relishing the opportunity to be part of a group that now includes a former teammate and close friend in Kane.
Kane, a Buffalo native whose accomplishments include three Stanley Cups (2010, 2013, 2015) along with a Ted Lindsay Award, Hart Trophy and an Art Ross Trophy all earned with his 2015-16 season, signed with the Red Wings on November 28.
“I couldn’t be happier. Patrick has been great to me. Off the ice, we’re good buddies. He’s taught me a lot over the years, on how to be a pro, which was especially important when I came in as a rookie back in 2017 with the Blackhawks,” said DeBrincat, who was selected 39th overall by Chicago in the 2016 NHL Draft.
“He was someone I looked up to. I remember watching the way he prepared for games and in practice, he was always working on his game, always striving to be the best. He is a true professional in every way.”
Kane has since been confident in his decision to pull on a Red Wings jersey.
“My heart was in Detroit,” the 2013 Conn Smythe Trophy winner said in an interview with NHL on TNT. “I would think about a place, and it would be all about that place for a day. My heart and my mind would, for some reason, always come back to Detroit. So, it seemed like the right fit for me.”
The five-time 30-plus goal-scorer also had high praise for DeBrincat.
“I had a lot of success with him in Chicago the last couple of years we were there,” Kane continued. “He’s a great kid, he’s a fun kid to be around. We were very close on the ice, obviously, and even off the ice as well, he became one of my better friends.”
“I think one of the things I really respected about him was the fact he wasn’t afraid to tell me what to do on the ice or give it back to me if we were getting a little bit heated on the bench or something like that. A lot of respect for him and it was a big reason [for signing in Detroit].”
The on-ice chemistry between the two was immediately rekindled, with DeBrincat assisting on Kane’s first goal as a member of the Red Wings.
“The last couple of years in Chicago, we were very close, and we played a lot together. We have been going through a little bit of adversity right now in Detroit with some key guys out, but we are going to have to figure out ways to win and we have the group to do that,” explained DeBrincat.
“We’ve had some ups and downs this year, but we know we are capable of fighting through that adversity. If we do that and play our game, we are going to do well.”
DeBrincat, who has skated in nine career playoff games, all in 2019-20 with Chicago, is hoping the Red Wings can emulate the playoff success of the Detroit teams he followed as a kid.
“It felt like they always had a chance to win the Stanley Cup. You felt the buzz around town, and it was Hockeytown for sure. It was always a cool team to root for.
“We have a lot of new guys this year, but we meshed very quickly and very well. It seems like we have been together longer than we have. We have a little bit of everything in our lineup, so it’s been a lot of fun to go to the rink and play with those guys. We want to build something special here.”
DeBrincat believes the 35-year-old Kane will be a difference-maker in that quest.
“You look at his talent on the ice, his focus and preparation for the games, and how he wants to help his teammates – he is going to be a huge part of helping us reach our goal.”
As will DeBrincat.
“Being able to play for them now is a dream come true,” said DeBrincat. “It’s something special putting that jersey on every night and being part of it all.”