Alex DeBrincat has hit just about every individual milestone you can think of in the Ontario Hockey League, and it translated into a historic season for his team this year.
On Friday, he helped the Erie Otters overcome a 3-1 deficit against the Mississauga Steelheads to force overtime, where they wrapped up the series in five games to win the second J. Ross Robertson Cup in franchise history (2001-02).
DeBrincat, the Blackhawks' second-round draft pick (No. 39 overall) in 2016, was recently named the recipient of the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL's Most Outstanding Player of the Year after recording 65 goals and 62 assists for 127 points in 63 regular season games. He followed that up by leading the team in postseason scoring with 13 goals and 25 assists in 22 contests.
DeBrincat and the Otters will be one of four teams to participate in the Memorial Cup, a round-robin tournament to determine the champion of the Canadian Hockey League, which runs from May 19-28.
Blackhawks prospects Matthew Highmore and Nathan Noel already punched their tickets with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, as did Graham Knott with the Windsor Spitfires, who are hosting.
Michal Kempny was in and out of the Blackhawks lineup last season but he’ll likely get a bigger opportunity this coming season. On Saturday, he was assured of coming back to get that chance.
Kempny and the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year extension, the team announced on Saturday morning.
“Michal’s style of play is an asset to our defense,” general manager Stan Bowman said in a statement. “He is the type of player who will continue to improve now that he has transitioned to the National Hockey League. We look forward to his continued development on the ice for the Blackhawks.”
Kempny was part of a very crowded blue line last season — he was one of eight defensemen at the start of it — and played 50 regular-season games. He recorded two goals and six assists in those contests but did not play in the Blackhawks’ four postseason contests. With Johnny Oduya and Brian Campbell likely not returning, however, Kempny should get a bigger opportunity this season.
The 26-year-old Kempny also had two goals and an assist in eight games for the Czech Republic team at the 2017 World Championship.
With exactly a month to go until Chicago hosts the 2017 NHL Draft for the first time ever, the Blackhawks and league announced Wednesday their plans for Fan Fest held outside the United Center on June 23 and 24.
A handful of Blackhawks players and alumni will be in attendance and made available for photo opportunities, as will the Stanley Cup. Fans will also be able to explore the NHL Centennial Fan Arena, "a 53-foot museum truck with an innovative interior featuring more than 1,000 square feet of interactive digital displays, original video content, one-of-a-kind historical memorabilia, unique photo moments and a social media wall," according to the press release.
A full list of activities, special guest appearances and schedule will be posted at a later date.
Friday's events will run from 3 to 9 p.m. while Saturday's festivites will go from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Parking Lot C, north of the United Center.
Additional passes for the weekend will be made available to the public starting June 9. For more information, visit chicagoblackhawks.com/fanfest.