Documentary of hockey legend Bob Probert premieres in his home city of Windsor

'Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story' premiered Thursday evening at the Olde Walkerville Theatre.

'He was a big presence to his family, the fans and the media'

Bob Probert retired in 2002 and died of a heart attack in 2010 at the age of 45. (Julian H. Gonzalez/Detroit Free Press/AP/Canadian Press)

The first screening of Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story brought out many people who had personal connections to the Detroit hockey legend.

Ten-year-old Cooper Otterman, whose grandfather worked with Probert's father, brought his signed Detroit Red Wings jersey to the Olde Walkerville Theatre.

Otterman said he loved watching Probert's fighting style — widely considered as one of the toughest and most brutal in the NHL — showcased in the documentary.

"He brings them to the ground and takes all his stuff off and just wrecks him," he said, adding the documentary taught him Probert also played for the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I only knew he was a Wings player."

Cooper Otterman, left, brought his signed Red Wings jersey to the screening of the Detroit hockey legend. Other fans of Bob Probert carry more permanent keepsakes, like George Dorner who has a #24 tattoo on his left shoulder. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

George Dorner said he grew up idolizing Probert and loved "seeing him around town."

"It's great. He's a local guy and it's really neat."

His son, George T., said one of his best memories as a child was mimicking hockey fights between Probert and long-time rival Stu Grimson.

"Favourite scene in the movie was how he was doubted and rose up. Because you can be everything, but when you get beaten down, it depends on how you come back up," said George T.

"He was a big presence to his family, the fans and the media."

Charlie Simpson says he used to coach lacrosse to brothers Bob and Norm Probert. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

The premiere screening brought out people who weren't necessarily fans of the Detroit Red Wings, but were fans of Probert personally.

Drake D'Armore said he never had the chance to see Probert on the ice during his NHL stint, but said he had such a great influence in the Windsor and Detroit area.

"Best memory that stands out to me is that he was close to my uncle and his dad was close to my uncle ... He actually mentions my uncle Pat D'Amore in his book a lot, so I thought that was very cool."

Charlie Simpson said he knew Bob Probert before he was a "superstar," adding he coached lacrosse to brothers Bob and Norm Probert.

He said the documentary was "excellent," but would've liked to see the documentary begin by looking at Probert's life as a young child.

"That's when he was the best kid ever. Once he got to be known, you couldn't approach him."

Tap on the player below to view the official trailer for Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story.


Sanjay Maru is a reporter at CBC Windsor. Email him at