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NHL disciplinarian Colin Campbell was once a Wing

The Windsor Star’s Bob Duff spoke to one of the NHL’s most infamous and controversial figures about his days as a teammate of, well, one of the NHL’s most infamous and controversial figures when one Colin Campbell was a member of the Red Wings’ organization:

In Windsor Thursday as part of the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business Breakfast of Champions series, Campbell reminisced about his days as a Red Wings defenceman and later, as an assistant coach under Jacques Demers.

“A lot of people probably don’t remember this, but I was the first player the Ilitches signed after they took over ownership of the Red Wings,” Campbell said. “I’m sure it’s not something they brag about.”

Moving into the coaching ranks, Campbell, who made his home in south Windsor during his tenure with the Wings, recalled one of his more difficult assignments during that time frame. He served as de facto baby sitter for Windsor’s Bob Probert when Probert was the Red Wings’ enforcer and was also battling alcohol and drug addiction issues.

“I doubled the size of my address book,” Campbell said. “I had numbers for probation officers in Canada and the United States, and for places like the Betty Ford Clinic.”

Campbell recalled one border crossing with Probert that went awry. “We had just gotten into the (Detroit-Windsor) tunnel and were about where the two flags are on the wall, when Probie says, ‘I forgot my wallet,’” Campbell said. “I thought that maybe we could talk our way into the U.S., but that didn’t work. In fact, the (U.S.) customs officer didn’t believe my story and kept my ID. He told me when we came back with Probert’s ID, we were to go to his stall and he’d give my ID back. Well, when we got to Canada, the Canada Customs officer wouldn’t let us into the country because neither of us had ID. So I said, ‘What are we supposed to do, live in the tunnel?’ Fortunately, he saw the humour in that and let us go.”

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redxblack's avatar

having babysat Probert would be (on paper anyway) an excellent qualification for a league disciplinarian.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 03/31/11 at 07:17 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.


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