Bob Probert was not a player you wanted to mess with. The Windsor, Ontario native threw the gloves over 120 times during his playing days, but he could also put in big hits and was a pure nightmare to his opponents. Once Probert started, he didn’t stop. Just ask Jody Shelley.
Shelley was, just as Probert, known as an enforcer, and during his career, he had the most regular-season major penalties for fighting in the NHL. So when Shelley faced Bob Probert, late in Probert’s career, it was special. And what happened during the game will never be forgotten.
”I’ll tell you what. That was when I was probably most scared in my career because Bob Probert was the guy,” he said on the Spittin’ Chiclets Podcast.
”This was later in his career, but I got put on the ice with him. I remember the game was on TSN, and I knew the boys were going to be watching back home, and I was standing next to Bob Probert in a TV time-out. I remember clearly thinking: Wait till next shift to ask him. So I was content with that, and then I heard myself say: Do you wanna go? And I was like… I was struggling with it. So he heard me ask him if he wanted to go, and he looked at me and said: I don’t care. I was like, okay, I’m done.”
”First of all, I was hoping he was going to say that he didn’t want to fight me, but he just said he didn’t care, and I was like: Oh my goodness, this is really gonna happen. So this is the first fight, and I’m fighting scared, and every time I lost a fight, on the way to the box, I said to the guy that I’d fought that we’re going again. And I said the same thing to Probert. I said it to him probably 50 times while we were in the penalty box. He didn’t look at me once.”
”But the second period comes, and I’m on the ice, and we collide, and I look up, and he’s got his gloves off, and he’s ready to go. We go again. But this time, I grab him really good, and I actually cut him.”
Everybody was stoked for Shelley and that he actually beat up Bob Probert. But Shelley wasn’t excited. He knew it was still one more period to go.
”I heard that if you ever lose a fight, he will get you back. So I gotta get ready for the third period, and I’m on the bench, but eventually, I’m forced on the ice but get asked not to fight him. But Bob Probert cannot wait to get at me. His winger sees me, I hop on the ice, and Probert comes at me, and we go again. I survived it. I was happy about that. But the worst part of the story is we had to play them two days later, so I had to fight him again in the first period of that game. But I survived it.”
Looking back at it, Jody Shelley is glad it happened.
”It was before Twitter and everything, and the game was on TSN, so it kind of gave me a name, so I thank him for that. But it was the longest night of my life.”
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