The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/24/13 at 02:43 AM ET
The first Bob Probert Memorial Ride took place less than a year after the former Red Wings and Blackhawks enforcer's passing, and it was an incredibly emotional event. Three later, the annual motorcycle ride to raise funds for Windsor's Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital's angioplasty and cardiac programs soldiers on a little more quietly, though it's incredibly well-attended and always studded with former NHL stars.
The Windsor Star's Emma loop reports that Doug Gilmour and ride captain Tony Amonte led a gigantic crop of riders through Windsor and Essex Counties...
More than 1000 motorcycles, packed tight on Ouellette Avenue in front of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital, revved their engines before cruising away in support of the hospital’s cardiac program.
It’s the third year that the late hockey player’s widow Dani Probert has organized the event. Probert, a past enforcer for the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks, died in 2010 after suffering a heart attack on his boat in Lake St. Clair.
Since its inception, the memorial ride has raised more than $200,000 for the hospital. This year, Probert’s twins Jack and Declyn raised about $1,000 on their own by asking friends to donate to the ride instead of giving presents at their 13th birthday party.
And Dani Probert, Bob's widow, said that the ride is making a huge difference:
Dani, wearing a red T-shirt with Bob’s iconic number 24 on the back, said the event is a way to celebrate his life and collect “much-needed funds for the cardiac care unit.” She said she hopes more services will be available to patients in the Windsor cardiac program. “You shouldn’t have to leave the county,” she said.
Hospital spokesperson Steve Erwin said Windsor-Essex has the unfortunate reputation of being a “hot spot” for cardiac issues. He said the goal of the ride is to raise enough money to expand the cardiac angioplasty program so that services are available 24/7. He said there are still times when patients needing urgent care must be transferred to hospitals across the border or in London.
“All these patients can be dealt with in Windsor,” he said.
Four years after his passing, Probert's legacy involves four wonderful kids, a charitable impact greater than the ones made by his fists and, from what fans tell me, positive memories of encounters with a troubled but gentle giant.
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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.