DETROIT – A film biography of Bob Probert is going to touch on at least three major points of discussion in hockey:
- Brain injuries
- Drug abuse
Here's the trailer for "Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story":
The film is airing in Canada later this year and in the U.S. next year. There are some big names in this trailer including Chris Chelios, Don Cherry and Jeremy Roenick. It will be interesting to see how these players and coaches remember Probert and what the tone of the film will be, given the serious topics it will cover.
Probert is considered one of the most renowned "enforcers" ever to play in the NHL. He was a fighter, and he was one of the main reasons so many Detroit Red Wings fans crowded into Joe Louis Arena during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He amassed 3,300 penalty minutes over a career that spanned three decades, first with the Red Wings and then with the Chicago Blackhawks.
In Detroit he was known simply as "Probey." He was the man who protected everyone else wearing the Winged Wheel, not the least of which was NHL All-Star Steve Yzerman. But the one person Probert never could take care of was himself, which was well documented in his autobiographical book "Tough Guy: My Life on the Edge." In it he discusses his personal battles with anxiety, depression, drug abuse and the loyalty he felt for his teammates and those closest to him.
That book was published posthumously, just months after his untimely death in July 2010. He was 45 years old.
Now there's a movie, and while it remains unclear what the exact message of this film will be, it looks like it will be quite entertaining. Still, if you read the book then you know the Bob Probert story is a sobering one. It wasn't all fighting, partying and hanging with the boys in Detroit and Chicago. No, Probert's life was a rollercoaster that was ultimately cut short suddenly.
His family donated his brain to the Sports Legacy Institute to assist researchers who are studying the effects of concussions and other sports-related head injuries. Researchers at Boston University later announced that they had found evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in Probert's brain.