Bob Probert in a fight with Darren Langdon.
|Born||June 5, 1965
Windsor, ON, CAN
|6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
225 lb (102 kg; 16 st 1 lb)
Adirondack Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings
|NHL Draft||46th overall, 1983
Detroit Red Wings
|Playing career||1985 – 2002|
Robert Probert (born June 5, 1965 in Windsor, Ontario) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey forward. Probert played for the National Hockey League's Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks. While a successful player by some measures, including being voted to the 87–88 Campbell Conference all-star team, Probert is best known for his activities as a fighter and enforcer. Probert was also known for his off-ice antics and legal problems, as well as being one half of the "Bruise Brothers" with then-Red Wing teammate Joe "Joey" Kocur, during the late 80s and early 90s.
Prior to playing with the Detroit Red Wings, Probert was with the Brantford Alexanders of the Ontario Hockey League. After being drafted, he spent one more season with the Alexanders before spending his 1984–85 season with both the Hamilton Steelhawks and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the OHL
During the 1985–86 and 1986–87 seasons, Probert spent the majority of his time with the Red Wings while occasionally playing for their minor league affiliate at the time, the Adirondack Red Wings of the American Hockey League. While he wasn't the most prolific pointmaker in the 1985–86 season, he finished third on the team in penalty minutes behind Kocur and Randy Ladouceur, both of whom played more regular season games than Probert. In the 1986–87 season, Probert accumulated only 24 points, but amassed 221 penalty minutes.
The 1987–88 season saw Probert develop his fighting abilities and reputation as a tough guy with 398 penalty minutes. He also tied for third on the team in points with 62 (Petr Klima also had 62 points). That season, Probert played in his first (and only) NHL All-Star Game, and he contributed the most points during the Red Wings' playoff run, in which Yzerman missed all but the final three games with a knee injury.
Probert's career hit a snag in 1989 when he was arrested for cocaine possession while crossing the Detroit-Windsor border. He served three months in a federal prison in Minnesota, three more months in a halfway house, and was indefinitely suspended from the NHL. The NHL lifted the suspension at the conclusion of his prison term.
When Probert returned to the Red Wings, he was temporarily one of the alternate Captains of the team along with Gerard Gallant. While his penalty minutes remained high, he also averaged 40 points a season. During his last season with the Red Wings, he accumulated 17 points for the team.
At this time, Probert once again got into trouble with the law. On July 15, 1994, he suffered minor injuries when he crashed his motorcycle into a car in West Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Police determined that his blood alcohol level was approximately triple the legal limit, and that there were also trace amounts of cocaine in his system. At the time of the accident, Probert had been ruled an unrestricted free agent. On July 19, the Red Wings announced that they would not offer him a contract. "This is the end," said senior vice-president Jim Devellano. "[In] my 12 years with the organization ... we've never spent more time on one player and his problems than we have on Probert."
Probert's first season with the Blackhawks was the last in which he accumulated over 40 points in a season. From then on, his points and penalty minutes gradually decreased. While he never returned to the levels of point production he achieved with the Red Wings, he remained a physical force on the ice and continued many long-term rivalries with other enforcers.
Probert also sustained various injuries during his time with the Blackhawks, most notably a torn rotator cuff injury which caused him to miss most of the 1997–98 season. One of the more noteworthy occurrences of his career with Chicago is that he scored the final NHL goal at the historic Maple Leaf Gardens on February 13, 1999.
He saw it as his job to protect his teammates, especially Detroit captain Steve Yzerman. In a recent news story, he recalled a time that he sucker-punched enforcer Kevin Maguire of the Buffalo Sabres after Maguire pummelled Yzerman.
Some significant tilts in Probert's career include:
After the 2001–02 season, Probert was placed on waivers by the Blackhawks. Because he was not picked up by another team, he was advised that his role with the Blackhawks would be limited, or even relegated to playing in the minor leagues again. On November 16, 2002, Probert opted to "unofficially" retire so that he could join the Blackhawks radio broadcasting team. He had finished fourth on the NHL's all-time list with 3,300 penalty minutes.
His stint with the Blackhawks radio team did not last long. In February 2003, it was reported that Probert went back to rehab. During the 2002–03 offseason, Probert formally announced his retirement.
Probert regularly appears in charity games, speaks at conventions, and conducts youth clinics. His activities as a Red Wings alumnus are somewhat limited by the fact that, due to his criminal background, he requires an immigration waiver each time he wants to cross the border.
On January 2, 2007, Probert appeared along with many other former Red Wings teammates to honor the retiring of Steve Yzerman's number 19 at Joe Louis Arena. He wore his number 24 Red Wings sweater, and helped former teammate Vladimir Konstantinov onto the ice for the ceremony. The Detroit crowd gave him a very warm welcome, which he later said he appreciated. He stayed on to watch the game with Joey Kocur behind the penalty box.
This was noted as a possible reconciliation with the Red Wings organization. Apparently it worked, as Probert became a late addition to a January 27, 2007 Red Wings Alumni game against the Boston Bruins Alumni at Joe Louis Arena. He scored a goal and two assists, though the Red Wings alumni lost the game 8-6.
Probert recently worked on the Mike Myers film The Love Guru, making a cameo as a hockey player. He has commented on the irony of being given jersey number 28 to wear in the film — the same number worn by longtime rival Tie Domi.
In 2004, Probert was arrested for allegedly parking his BMW sport utility vehicle on the wrong side of the street and entering into an altercation over drugs with bystanders. Several police officers intervened and had to subdue Probert with taser and stun guns. He was later acquitted on all charges related to this incident.
On July 1, 2005, Probert was arrested at his Windsor-area home for breach of peace, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer. Probert's attorney, Patrick Ducharme, advised the media, "I anticipate he will be pleading not guilty and going to trial." Probert was arrested again on August 23, 2005, at a bar in Tecumseh, Ontario for violating two conditions of his probation that he not consume alcohol or be in an establishment that serves liquor. He was released after paying a $200 CAD fine. All charges stemming from the arrest on July 1 were eventually dropped.
|1984–85||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||OHL||44||20||52||72||172||15||6||11||17||60|
|1985–86||Adirondack Red Wings||AHL||32||12||15||27||152||10||2||3||5||68|
|1985–86||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||44||8||13||21||186||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986–87||Adirondack Red Wings||AHL||7||1||4||5||15||—||—||—||—||—|
|1986–87||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||63||13||11||24||221||16||3||4||7||63|
|1987–88||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||74||29||33||62||398||16||8||13||21||51|
|1988–89||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||25||4||2||6||106||—||—||—||—||—|
|1989–90||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||4||3||0||3||29||—||—||—||—||—|
|1990–91||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||55||16||23||39||315||6||1||2||3||50|
|1991–92||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||63||20||24||44||276||11||1||6||7||28|
|1992–93||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||80||14||29||43||292||7||0||3||3||10|
|1993–94||Detroit Red Wings||NHL||66||7||10||17||275||7||1||1||2||8|
Bob Probert / In Play! magazine Inaugural issue
Probert was featured on the ice skating competition, Battle of the Blades where former ice hockey players compete in ice dancing competitions.
On July 5, 2010, Probert died of heart failure while vacationing in Lake Saint Clair, Onatrio with his mother-in-law, father-in-law and children.