Anyone who watched hockey from 1985-2002 has a Bob Probert memory. The man who fought the toughest and protected the best players, lost his life Monday. Probert died after suffering chest pains while boating with his family. Probert was 45.
The enforcer played for the Detroit Red Wings (1985-1994) and the Chicago Blackhawks (’95-’02), scoring 384 points and sitting in the penalty box for 3,300 minutes. The Blackhawks honored Probert with Bob Probert Heritage Night on Feb. 22, 2009, at the United center. He was known best for his legendary fights, including this one against Toronto tough guy Tie Domi.
Probert, whose father-in-law performed CPR before he was rushed to Windsor Regional Medical Center, struggled during his career with alcohol and spent time in prison in 1989 after attempting to carry cocaine from Canada.
The Red Wings and Blackhawks released statements concerning Probert’s death. Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch said “Bob was always there for his teammates and was one of the toughest men to ever play in the NHL. He also was one of the kindest, most colorful, and beloved players Detroit has ever known.”
The ‘Hawks’ president John McDonough said “Bob will always be a member of the Blackhawks family and his memory will live on through our fans.”
I meet hockey fans all over whose favorite player will always be Bob Probert. It wasn’t just the fights, it was Probert’s willingness to do everything and anything for his team that made him special.
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Matthew Coller is a staff member of the Business of Sports Network, and is a freelance writer. He can be followed on Twitter
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