The tragic passing of former Chicago Blackhawk and legendary enforcer Bob Probert brought out the soft side in some of his fondest sparring partners.
Ken Daneyko referred to Probert as a “teddy bear” off the ice, and Tie Domi has spoken nothing but kind words since learning of Probert’s death. They shared his personal struggles and related to Probert, knowing Probert dropped the gloves far less times to throw fists on the ice than he did to wage wars with himself off it.
Stu Grimson needed some time to compose himself after learing of Probert’s death, remembering Probert as a man he fought relentlessly during his career then developed a relationship with after hanging up the skates.
“Bob was both a friend and a foe,” Grimson said through e-mail from Nashville. “he was my fiercest rival on the ice, but I was able to get to know him more after we retired.”
The two bonded during a trip to Afghanistan when they visited Canadian troops a few years back.
“I was really fond of Bob,” Grimson said. “He was a great guy. The hockey family will miss him, though not nearly as much as his young family. This is tragic news.”
The Blackhawks honored Probert with a Heritage Night on February 22, 2009.
Here’s a video montage of some of Probert’s best fights. RIP, Bob.