Visitation begins Wednesday in Windsor, Ont., for former NHL player Bob Probert, who died earlier this week after suffering chest pains.

Probert, who played for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, was 45 years old when he died while boating with his family on Lake St.Clair on Monday afternoon.

A funeral for the married father of four will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Windsor Christian Fellowship at Walker Road and the 7th concession.

'He [Probert] was always there for me and for the kids and anything in the community that I wanted done by him.'—Robert (Knobby) Knudson

Visitation is at Families First Funeral Home on Lauzon Road between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET, and continues Thursday between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., then again between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. 

Probert's death has prompted calls for the 16-year NHL veteran to be honoured for his contribution to sports, both on and off the ice.

Gerry Brumpton, chairman of the Windsor-Essex County Sports Hall of Fame, told CBC News he hopes the family will agree to a public tribute to Probert.

"They're grieving right now and I know that there are things they have to look at, but I'm hoping that they will decide that it's time to induct Bob into the Sports Hall of Fame, and that it's time for the people of Windsor to recognize the outstanding job that Bob did as a hockey athlete," said Brumpton.

The induction ceremony would be held in October.

Tough guy on ice, nice guy off

During his 935 NHL hockey games, Probert had a hand in more than 240 fights.

But off the ice, Probert also had a hand in fighting for children who couldn't afford to play hockey to get a chance to lace up skates.

"He was always there for me and for the kids and anything in the community that I wanted done by him," said community leader Robert (Knobby) Knudson.

"He was the typical athlete.... 'Whatever you need for kids, let me know I'll be there.'"

John Fairley's family has been close with the Proberts for decades, and Fairley recalls how Probert bought Red wing Tickets for kids who couldn't afford them.

"And there was a whole section up top called Probie's Pals and it was something that no one ever had done," said Fairley.

Probert's autopsy was completed Tuesday, and though police would not release details, they said foul play is not suspected.

However, friends and family told CBC it appears Probert died of a heart attack, just as his father did in 1982.