Like many metro Detroiters, the joy of a long holiday weekend was disrupted Monday afternoon when I heard the sad news that former Detroit Red Wing Bob Probert had passed away.  

As all news outlets are reporting, the former NHL tough guy apparently complained of chest pains while spending an afternoon boating on Lake St. Clair with his family.  He collapsed and efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bob and his family.  Probert leaves his wife Dani and four children behind.  Within just the last few minutes, (Tuesday 3:20 p.m.) I saw a late report coming in at the Detroit News website that states no foul play played a role in Bob’s death.   

Bob’s Red Wing career lasted from 1985 to 1994, followed by several years with the Chicago Black Hawks.  He was drafted the same year as Steve Yzerman and a great deal of his playing time was acting as an “enforcer”, protecting “The Captain” and his fellow teammates.  As a legendary fighter on the ice, Bob racked up 3,300 penalty minutes in his career, the fifth highest total in the NHL record books.  In surfing the Internet about Bob I actually came across a website called  Yes, there’s a website for everything. 

But it was no secret that many of Bob Probert’s toughest battles were his fights off the ice, including problems with cocaine and alcohol.  However, from everything I’ve read about Bob Probert, despite his demons, he was as nice and caring off the ice as he was tough on the ice.  I think we would all agree that is a far better legacy.

We invite you to share your thoughts and sentiments about Bob Probert right here at or on my Facebook page.

Once again, on behalf of all of Purtan’s People, our heartfelt condolences go out to the Probert family.