Brashear was born in Bedford, Indiana, and grew up in Val-Belair, Quebec. He played in the QMJHL for 3 seasons and the AHL for 2 seasons prior to making his NHL debut for the Montreal Canadiens in 1993. Donald played 16 seasons in the NHL for the Montreal Canadiens, Vancouver Canucks, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Capitals, and New York Rangers. In the NHL, he played 1,025 games and collected 85 goals, 120 assists, 205 points, and 2,634 pim. Brashear was known for his enforcer playing style, ensuring his teammates were always protected from opponents.