Bob Probert was a legendary hockey player, but his story extends far beyond the ice rink. He was a man admired by many for his toughness and skill. However, his life was a turbulent journey of ups and downs. Bob’s journey from a young Canadian hockey player to a revered NHL enforcer and his eventual struggles with addiction and personal demons has become an important part of the story of hockey. This blog post aims to delve into the untold story of Bob Probert, discussing both his accomplishments and his struggles.

Section 1: Early Life

Bob Probert was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in 1965. He grew up in a working-class family with three siblings. Bob’s father, Pat Probert, was a boxer, and Bob inherited his father’s toughness and wiry frame. Bob, like many Canadians, began playing hockey at a young age. His talent as a left winger became apparent, and he quickly rose through the ranks of youth hockey leagues.

Section 2: NHL Career

Bob Probert’s skills as an enforcer, a player that protects their team by fighting and imposing physical play on the opposing team, became apparent as he began playing in the NHL. He played for the Detroit Red Wings from 1985 to 1994, amassing an impressive 3,300 penalty minutes and over 200 points. He then went on to play for the Chicago Blackhawks until 2002.

Section 3: Off-Ice Struggles

Bob Probert’s off-ice struggles began during his hockey career. He was a heavy drinker and drug user, which led to several suspensions and legal troubles throughout his career. After retiring from hockey, his struggles continued, and he battled with addiction, depression, and legal troubles for several years.

Section 4: Rehabilitation & Redemption

Bob Probert eventually sought help for his addiction and went through rehabilitation. He regained control of his life and became an advocate for addiction recovery. Bob’s journey became a symbol of hope and recovery for many people who faced similar struggles.

Section 5: Life after Hockey

After retiring from hockey, Bob Probert settled in the Windsor area and worked on establishing a new chapter in his life. He became a businessman and co-owned a fishing charter company with his wife. He also worked as an analyst and commentator on various hockey shows.

Section 6: Legacy

Bob Probert’s legacy extends beyond the hockey rink. He is remembered as a fierce competitor, a devoted family man, and a symbol of strength and resilience through adversity. The Bob Probert Ride, an annual motorcycle ride, was established to raise money for cardiac research, and it has become an enduring tribute to his legacy.

Section 7: Quotes by and about Bob Probert

One of Bob Probert’s most famous quotes is, “I can play and I can fight, and I’d rather play, but I’ll fight.” This quote captures the duality of Bob’s career as both a skilled player and an enforcer. Another quote that encapsulates Bob’s legacy is from his wife, Dani Probert: “Bob was always willing to help anyone, and he never forgot where he came from. He was one of a kind.”


Question 1: What was Bob Probert’s nickname?
Answer: Bob Probert was known as “The Grim Reaper” for his reputation as a tough enforcer.

Question 2: Was Bob Probert a Hall of Famer?
Answer: Unfortunately, Bob Probert was not inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, despite his impressive career statistics and contributions to the game.

Question 3: How did Bob Probert contribute to addiction recovery?
Answer: After beating his addiction, Bob became an advocate for addiction recovery, sharing his story and experiences with others and helping to raise awareness of addiction issues.

Question 4: What was the Bob Probert Ride?
Answer: The Bob Probert Ride is an annual motorcycle ride that raises money for cardiac research in honor of Bob Probert’s legacy.

Question 5: How did Bob Probert’s story inspire others?
Answer: Bob Probert’s journey through addiction and recovery provided a message of hope to others facing similar struggles, inspiring them to seek help and overcome their challenges.

Question 6: Was Bob Probert a good player or just a fighter?
Answer: Bob Probert was an all-around talented player, but his reputation as a fighter often overshadowed his other skills. He amassed over 200 points in his 16-year career.

Question 7: What was Bob Probert’s cause of death?
Answer: Bob Probert died of a heart attack in 2010 at the age of 45, likely related to his past struggles with addiction and heart problems.


Bob Probert’s life was a complex journey, but his legacy continues to inspire and impact many people. His impact on the ice and off the ice has made him a true legend, loved by fans and respected by peers. Bob’s journey teaches us the importance of seeking help, overcoming adversity, and leaving a mark on the world that extends beyond our accomplishments in our careers. Let us remember Bob Probert as a symbol of determination, resilience, and hope.

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