NHL Wiki
Donald Brashear

Brashear with the Washington Capitals during the 2008-09 season.
Born January 7, 1972 (1972-01-07) (age 50)
Bedford, IN, USA
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight 240 lb (109 kg; 17 st 2 lb)
Position Left Wing
Shoots Left
SHL team
Former teams
Modo Hockey
Montreal Canadiens
Vancouver Canucks
Philadelphia Flyers
Washington Capitals
New York Rangers
Rivière-du-Loup CIMT
National team  United States
NHL Draft Undrafted
Playing career 1992–2013

Donald Brashear (born on January 7, 1972) is an American-Canadian former professional ice hockey player who most recently played for Modo Hockey of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).

He previously played for five organizations in the National Hockey League (NHL) in which he was considered one of the most effective enforcers.

Donald's aggressive style led to being among the League leaders in penalty minutes for six seasons while currently ranking 15th all-time in NHL history and resulted in multiple suspensions as well.

He remains the Vancouver Canucks all-time single season leader in penalty minutes which he set in the 1997-98 NHL season.

Donald was the victim of one most publicized incidents of on-ice violence in NHL history, when he was slashed in the head by Marty McSorley during the 1999-00 NHL season.

Playing Career[]

Early Playing Career[]

Donlad was signed as a free agent by the Montreal Canadiens in 1992.

He spent parts of three seasons with their American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Fredericton Canadiens before becoming a regular with Montreal at the NHL level.

During the 1993–94 AHL season, he registered professional career highs of 38 goals and 66 points, along with 250 penalty minutes (PIMs) in 62 games. His 38 goals tied him for the team lead and the 250 PIMs led Fredericton.

Donald made his NHL debut on November 15, 1993 against the Ottawa Senators. He registered an assist in the contest, his first career NHL point. Two days later, he scored his first NHL goal in a game against the Edmonton Oilers.

After playing parts of four seasons with the Canadiens, Donald's time in Montreal ended following a heated verbal exchange with Head Coach Mario Tremblay during a team practice on November 9, 1996.

Four days later, Donald was traded to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Jassen Cullimore. He finished the year with 13 points and 245 PIMs, seventh-highest in the NHL.

The following season, Donlad led the NHL in penalty minutes and set a Canucks franchise record with 372 PIMs while adding 18 points.

During the season, Donald also received a four-game suspension for delivering a blind-side punch to Ian Laperriere. He stated that he hit Laperrière in retaliation to Laperrière punching his teammate Gino Odjick from behind.

The 1998–99 season marked the only time in Donald's career which he played in all 82 games, again leading the Canucks in penalty minutes and finishing eighth in the NHL.

In the 1999–2000 season, he set a career-high in goals with 11, but the season was marred by one of the most published incidents of excessive violence in the modern era of hockey.

McSorley Incident[]

During the February 21, 2000 game between the Canucks and the Boston Bruins, Donald was involved in a fight with Marty McSorley. '

Donald handily won the fight and on his way to the penalty box taunted the Bruins bench.

Later in the game, Donald collided with Bruins goaltender Byron Dafoe, who had to be taken off on a stretcher with a knee injury. For the rest of the game, McSorley attempted to fight him who refused.

With 4.6 seconds left in the game, McSorley struck Donald with a two-handed slash to the temple with his stick. Donald collapsed and his helmet fell off upon impact. He suffered a seizure on the ice and the slash resulted in a grade three concussion.

Goaltender Garth Snow would later try to fight McSorley, but McSorley was ejected with 2.8 seconds left in the game.

McSorley later received an indefinite suspension from the NHL and was charged with assault with a weapon as a result of his actions.

The case went to trial in British Columbia wher Donald testified that he had no memory of the incident.

McSorley testified that he tried to hit Donald in the shoulder to start a fight with him, but missed, resulting in the head shot. He was found guilty but avoided a jail sentence & was required to complete 18 months of probation, in which he was not allowed to play in a game against Donald.

Donald returned to play prior to the end of the season.

McSorley (who missed the remaining 23 games of the regular season) had his suspension officially set at one year following the conviction. However, he ultimately never played in another NHL game during his career.

Mid-Playing Career[]

Donald played in 79 games the following season, registering 19 assists and 28 points.

After leading the Canucks in penalty minutes for the previous four seasons, he was traded 31 games into the 2001–02 season to the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers received Donald and the Canucks' sixth-round draft pick in 2002 in exchange for Jan Hlavac and the Flyers' third-round pick in the same draft.

While splitting time between the two franchises, he set a career-high in points (32) while also amassing 199 PIMs.

In 2002–03, Donald recorded eight goals, 25 points and 161 PIMs. Thanks in part to his strong work ethic, he was awarded the Pelle Lindbergh Memorial Trophy, an annual award given to the Flyers' most improved player.

During the 2003–04 season, Donald was among the League leaders in PIMs, registering 212, ranking him fifth overall. His PIM total was aided by his role in the most penalized game in NHL history.

On March 5, 2004, the Flyers were defeating the Ottawa Senators 5–2, when with 1:45 remaining in the game, Donald fought Ottawa enforcer Rob Ray. The fight was believed to be in retaliation to Flyers forward Mark Recchi being slashed in the face by the Senators Martin Havlat.

Following Donald's fight, five separate brawls broke out and for his role in starting the fighting, he was assessed 34 PIMs, more than any other Flyer. When asked later why he started the fighting, he responded by saying, "Why wouldn’t I? Did you see the last game?"

Due to the cancellation of the 2004–05 NHL season by the NHL lockout, Donald signed with the Quebec Radio X of the semi-pro Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey league (LNAH). The deal was reportedly worth $300,000.

Donald registered 18 goals and 50 points in 47 games, but he was reluctant to fight and felt the League did little to protect him from players wanting to make a name for themselves against an established NHL enforcer.

Donald was suspended from the League following an incident where he continued punching a player in the face while he was lying on the ice.

Following the lockout, Donald voiced his displeasure with the new way the League called games, stating that the NHL changed the rules to favor "superstars" and he felt that there was no longer a way to "get respect" on the ice.

Donald's statement came following a game in which he attempted to fight Darius Kasparaitis, who the Flyers believed delivered a "cheap shot" to Simon Gagne in an Olympic game earlier in the year.

After Kasparaitis refused to fight Brashear at various points in the game, Donald hit Kasparaitis with a gloved punch with 1:53 remaining in the game. Kasparaitis did not fight back, and instead covered up to protect himself. He was assessed 29 PIMs for the incident, including an instigator penalty.

Donald was given a one-game suspension due to new League rules for the 2005–06 season; any player given an instigator penalty in the final five minutes of regulation or overtime would receive an automatic one-game suspension.

At the end of the year, Donald was again in the top ten (eighth) in PIMs, accumulating 166, but his offensive production dropped to a mere nine points. The Flyers opted not to re-sign the enforcer.

The Washington Capitals then signed Donald on July 14, 2006, to a one-year, $1 million contract.

The signing was to provide Alexander Ovechkin with some on-ice protection. Capitals management felt that Donald was skilled enough not to be a liability on the team while bringing an intimidating presence.

During the 2006–07 season, the Capitals decided to extend Donald's contract, signing him to a one-year, $1.1 million contract extension.

He was suspended one game by the NHL during the regular season for punching New York Rangers defenceman Aaron Ward following a fight between Donald and Brendan Shanahan.

In the game, Shanahan felt Donald was taking liberties with Rangers captain Jaromir Jagr and subsequently challenged him to a fight. Donald won the fight and motioned as if he was dusting off his hands.

Ward then approached him and had words with Donald, who responded by punching him in the face, earning himself a game misconduct for intent to injure and eventually the suspension.

At season's end, Donald's point total increased from the previous season to 13 and his 156 PIMs ranked him in the top ten (sixth) in the League for the sixth time in his career.

In the 2007–08 season, he played in 80 games for the Capitals, but his offensive production slipped down to eight points while registering only 119 PIMs. However, he served as one of the Capitals' alternate captains.

On January 24, 2008, the Capitals once again re-signed Donald, this time to a one-year, $1.2 million extension. In the 2008–09 season, his point total dropped to four, his lowest total since 1995–96 while he was with the Montreal Canadiens.

During the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, Donald earned a suspension for two separate on-ice incidents.

On April 26, 2009, the Capitals faced the New York Rangers in Game 6 of their first-round series.

In the pre-game warm-ups, Donald shoved Rangers enforcer Colton Orr, then mid-way through the game's first period, he delivered a blind-side hit to Blair Betts. As a result of the hit and a possible elbow, Betts suffered a broken orbital bone and was out indefinitely.

Colin Campbell ruled that the hit was late on an unsuspecting player; he also believed it targeted the head, and as a result caused significant injury. For his actions, Donald was given a six-game suspension by the League: one for the pre-game altercation and five for the hit on Betts.

Later Playing Career[]

Donald was not given an extension during the season, and prior to the start of the free agency he indicated that he would like to return to Washington, citing the prospect of winning a Stanley Cup.

He noted that at his age and place in his career, taking care of his family was his top priority and that money would be the deciding factor in his destination, however, the Capitals opted not re-sign him.

After initial talks with the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)'s Vityaz Chekhov, Donald eventually agreed to a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the New York Rangers.

At an event for season-ticket holders, Donald was booed due to the altercation with the Rangers in the previous post-season. He set a personal milestone during the 2009–10 season by playing in his 1,000th NHL game on November 12 against the Atlanta Thrashers.

Donald struggled in New York, however, registering just one assist and 73 PIMs in 36 games; he became unhappy with his role in New York and asked the Rangers for a trade. Following a stretch of seven-straight and 12 of 13 games where he was a healthy scratch, the Rangers placed him on waivers.

After clearing waivers, Donald was assigned to the Rangers' AHL affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack. Despite the demotion, he was happy to be receiving steady ice time whilst in Hartford. At the end of the season, the Rangers again placed him on waivers, making him eligible for a contract buyout.

Instead of buying-out his contract, however, the Rangers traded Donald on August 2, 2010, along with Patrick Rissmiller to the Atlanta Thrashers in exchange for centre Todd White. Atlanta then placed him on waivers and bought-out the remaining year of his contract, thus making him an unrestricted free agent.

At the end of the 2009–10 season, Donald ranked 15th all-time in NHL history for penalty minutes.

After not receiving serious interest from any NHL teams, Donald opted to return to the LNAH and signed with Sorel-Tracy GCI. He noted that his decision was based on his desire to continue playing hockey, his love for playing in the province of Quebec and a chance to reunite with some former teammates.

Donald was later traded during the season to Rivière-du-Loup 3L to add talent and toughness to the team. Rivière-du-Loup considered the acquisition of Brashear a "coup," noting that they could not pass up the chance to add him to the team.

Late in the season, Donald was given a suspension following a his actions in a brawl against Trois-Rivières.

During the melee, Donald "attacked" goaltender Julien Ellis after he slashed one of his teammates who was engaged in a different fight. He hit Ellis with several gloved punches before one of Ellis' teammates attempted to restrain Donald.

Donald fought with the intervening player and after falling to the ice, he continued to punch the "defenceless" player. He went back after the goaltender before a linesman tackled him.

The suspension was originally set at eight games, but after the League met with Brashear and Rivière-du-Loup's general manager, it was reduced to five games.

In November 2014, Donald stepped out of retirement and signed a contract with Modo Hockey of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for the remainder of the season.

Donald retired as a player after the conclusion of the 2014-15 season.

Career Statistics[]

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1988–89 Ste-Foy Gouverneurs QAAA 10 1 2 3 10
1989–90 Longueuil Collège Français QMJHL 64 12 14 26 169 7 0 0 0 11
1990–91 Longueuil Collège Français QMJHL 68 12 26 38 195 8 0 3 3 33
1991–92 Verdun Collège Français QMJHL 65 18 24 42 283
1992–93 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 76 11 3 14 261 5 0 0 0 8
1993–94 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 62 38 28 66 250
1993–94 Montreal Canadiens NHL 14 2 2 4 34 2 0 0 0 0
1994–95 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 29 10 9 19 182 17 7 5 12 77
1994–95 Montreal Canadiens NHL 20 1 1 2 63
1995–96 Montreal Canadiens NHL 67 0 4 4 223 6 0 0 0 2
1996–97 Montreal Canadiens NHL 10 0 0 0 38
1996–97 Vancouver Canucks NHL 59 8 5 13 207
1997–98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 77 9 9 18 372
1998–99 Vancouver Canucks NHL 82 8 10 18 209
1999–2000 Vancouver Canucks NHL 60 11 2 13 136
2000–01 Vancouver Canucks NHL 79 9 19 28 145 4 0 0 0 0
2001–02 Vancouver Canucks NHL 31 5 8 13 90
2001–02 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 50 4 15 19 109 5 0 0 0 19
2002–03 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 80 8 17 25 161 13 1 2 3 21
2003–04 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 64 6 7 13 212 18 1 3 4 61
2004–05 Quebec Radio X LNAH 47 18 32 50 260 8 4 6 10 42
2005–06 Philadelphia Flyers NHL 76 4 5 9 166 1 0 0 0 0
2006–07 Washington Capitals NHL 77 4 9 13 156
2007–08 Washington Capitals NHL 80 5 3 8 119 7 1 1 2 0
2008–09 Washington Capitals NHL 63 1 3 4 121 4 0 0 0 18
2009–10 New York Rangers NHL 36 0 1 1 73
2009–10 Hartford Wolf Pack AHL 27 2 4 6 25
2010–11 Riviere-du-Loup 3L LNAH 28 17 14 31 66
2011–12 Riviere-du-Loup 3L LNAH 18 3 5 8 63
2012–13 Riviere-du-Loup 3L LNAH 1 0 2 2 12
2014–15 MODO Hockey SHL 12 0 0 0 6
NHL totals 1,025 85 120 205 2,634 60 3 6 9 121
AHL totals 194 61 44 105 718 22 0 0 0 8
LNAH totals 94 38 52 90 141

International statistics[]

Year Team Event GP G A Pts PIM
1997 United States WC 8 2 3 5 8
1998 United States WC 6 0 0 0 10
Totals 14 2 3 5 18

Mixed Martial Arts Career[]

In April of 2011, Donald signed a three-fight contract with the mixed martial arts promoter Ringside MMA.

His first fight occurred on June 4, 2011, against Mathieu Bergeron at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City. In the fight, he immediately charged Bergeron, knocking him down with a right hook.

After knocking him down, he continued to hit him with hammer fists, forcing the referee to stop the fight after only 21 seconds. Donald was officially awarded the win by TKO.

Personal Life[]

Donald is the youngest of three children born to an African-American father, Johnny Brashear and French Canadian mother, Nicole Gauthier in Bedford, Indiana.

His father was an alcoholic who abused his family, including beating Donald with belts and electrical cords. On one occasion when Donald was only six months old, he picked him up and threw him across a room.

Afraid that her husband might kill her, Nicole left the family and returned to Canada. Later, she returned to take the children, but left Donald to live with his father for another four years until Donald's paternal grandmother sent him to Canada.

Donald's mother later stated that she left him behind because her future husband was prejudiced and did not want another mixed-race child in the house. He moved in with his mother and his new stepfather in Lorretteville, Quebec.

Unfortunately, Donald suffered further abuse in his new surroundings; he was forced to sleep with a garbage bag tied around his waist to keep him from wetting the bed and was verbally berated for not being able to tie his shoes.

Donald's mother finally decided to give him up to foster care, due in part because of what she called "mental problems" from the abuse he had suffered, and because he did not accept her as his mother.

Donald lived in two different foster homes that sent him away since the families believed he was a "little too much to handle." At the age of eight, he moved to Val-Bélair, Quebec, Canada and settled into a new foster home. Once there, he began playing hockey with his new siblings.

In order to help pay for hockey, Donald sold baked bread and garbage bags door-to-door. Later, he became a paper boy.

Donald has two sons, Jordan and Jackson. He is separated from their mother, Gabrielle Desgagne, his common-law wife, in 2007.

In 2000, Donald was charged with assault following an incident where he grabbed a man by the neck and shoved him.

The incident occurred after the man complained to Desgagne about the couple's infant son crawling on the exercise machines in a communal gym. Donald received six months probation after pleading guilty to common assault.

During the 2004–05 NHL lockout, Donald spent time as an amateur boxer, compiling a 2–1 record. Later on, he trained with former heavyweight champion Smokin' Joe Frazier.

In 2007, Donald (along with some friends) founded the house building company DEC Construction. During the off-season, he works on-site performing various jobs. He also has a skill for languages, speaking French and English, while also learning both Russian and Spanish.

Donald enjoys music as well, playing the piano while learning the acoustic guitar. His great-uncle Carl Brashear was the first African-American to be certified as a Master Diver in the United States Navy.