Wife stood by Probert

Dani Probert has no regrets about having her life laid bared so publicly. (Photo courtesy Harper...

Dani Probert has no regrets about having her life laid bared so publicly. (Photo courtesy Harper Collins)

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:49 PM ET

On the ice, Bob Probert is considered one of the toughest men to ever play hockey.

He knew how to play the game and he played hard.

Off the ice, Probert played just as hard. He was addicted to booze and drugs. He had 10 stays in rehab, served jail time for carrying cocaine across the border, was suspended twice by the NHL, had numerous DUI convictions and was tasered by police in Florida.

But maybe the only person tougher than Probert was his wife, Dani. She stuck with him through it all -- 17 years of marriage and four kids. When Probert died of a heart attack in July this year at the age of 45, Dani decided to tough it out yet again and see through his project of publishing a book about his life.

Tough Guy, My Life On The Edge, an autobiography written with Kirstie McLellan Day appears in bookstores Saturday.

It's a no-nonsense look in Probert's no-nonsense words at his life.

It takes you from when he started drinking at 14 through his junior days to the pros where all night binges were the norm and his addictions almost destroyed his family.

The book is an inside look at how hockey players lived and is like a fight review of some of Probert's best fights among the 238 in which he was involved.

It also shows the other side of Probert, his gentle side, his love of family, teammates and the sport itself.

"It's a mixture of emotion," Dani said from her home in the Windsor area. "I'm sad that he's not here to see it finished. It's almost like it's his diary, his journal of the stories that I would tune out after 17 years of marriage. Stories I heard him tell and maybe didn't pay attention to. I'm glad it's in print and I have something to read that I can hear his voice like he's telling me the story. I'm really paying attention now."

Dani has seen the best and the worst of Big Bob. She lived with worry over his numerous relapses, his nights out and all the bad press he received.

"There was a reason we called him Sybil," Dani said referring to the famous case of multiple personality disorder.

But she never quit on him.

"Life is complicated. Bob is complicated," Dani said. "There were a lot of ups and downs. But the good definitely outweighed the bad."

Dani said there was only one time when she thought of leaving him. It was after his retirement and the move back to Windsor. He'd been sober for a number of years.

The following incident is from the book. Probert partied with friends in his garage.

"We were pretty buzzed and only had one bottle of whisky left. Canadian Club," Probert says. "We didn't have any mix. We were sipping that straight out of the bottle and taking mushrooms by the handful -- getting really f---ed up. And then I just kind of blacked out and only remember parts of it. Meanwhile, Dani and the kids were home."

The incident ended with Dani being so scared she had to call the police.

"He was never mean to us," Dani said. "But the kids were getting older and I switched into survival mode basically for the kids and myself. That was the most disappointing point of all of Bob's struggle, that relapse. It hit me hard. I didn't see it coming."

Through it all there was one constant, the tough man's love of his family.

Dani has no regrets about having her life laid bared so publicly.

"I was there. I lived it," she said. "He really wanted to get better. He tried and he kept trying. He never stopped trying."


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