Ex-Red Wings, Blackhawks Toughie Bob Probert Dies

Bob Probert, one of the toughest NHL enforcers in recent memory, has died. Probert’s family said the former Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks enforcer died on Monday while boating with his family on Lake St. Clair. He was 45.

Probert was given CPR by his father-in-law, Dan Parkinson, after collapsing due to severe chest pains and was later brought to the Windsor Regional Medical Center, but to no avail. No funeral arrangements have been announced, with Parkinson asking for privacy at the moment while Probert’s family deals with the tragedy.

Probert was best known for his on-ice fights that made him a regular in the penalty box. The Windsor, Ontario, Canada native was assessed 3,300 penalty minutes during his 16-year career, making him sixth in the all-time list. He also had 163 goals and 221 assists during his stints with the Red Wings from 1985 to 1994 and with the Blackhawks from 1995 until his retirement in 2002.

While he attracted fans with his tough-guy persona inside the rink, Probert also caught the eye of police for his brushes with the law, which included trying to transport cocaine from Canada to the United States in 1989.

Despite his run-ins with the law and toughness as a player, Probert was known for being gentle off the ice. “Off the ice, everything was a whole different story. He was one of the good guys and he’d do anything for anybody,” former Toronto Maple Leafs enforcer Wendel Clark said of his former rival.

Chicago Blackhawks president John McDonough also had nothing but praise for Probert. “Bob will always be a member of the Blackhawks family and his memory will live on through our fans,” McDonough said.